How being involved with Blood Cancer UK has helped me and my family
When I was very suddenly diagnosed with blood cancer my life went into a spin, with a whirlwind of emotions, thoughts, questions and fears so I can safely say that it was hugely life changing and I didn’t know where to turn.
My life has remained changed three years on but in many positive ways and one of those being my involvement with Blood Cancer UK. Finding Blood Cancer UK was a big turning point for me and my family who have all become involved in one way or another.
Being involved with Blood Cancer UK has played a massive part of finding myself again, as well as enabling me to create a lot of positives from my devastating diagnosis. Being proactive by becoming an Ambassador has helped me get back control from a situation where I had no control, none of us have any control over a cancer diagnosis but we can control how we move forward and live our lives with it. Also for me giving back has became really important as it dawned on me that being part of the solution, even though I am only a small part of it, really helped me find happiness again.
Coming to terms with living in remission from acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is tough and one thing that always stands out is that I want my life to have purpose, it’s important for me to honour those we’ve lost and be worthy of the second chance I’ve been given. Blood cancer takes over your life, both physically and emotionally so being able to talk about all of the interesting, important and positive things I’ve been doing because of my involvement with Blood Cancer UK, has helped keep my focus away from the negatives of my situation.
Over the years I have been involved in many ways. I have helped shape Blood Cancer UKs work by reviewing patient information and studies, taking part in workshops, surveys and interviews based on my experience of blood cancer. I am a member of Blood Cancer UKs Policy Panel, where we share our experiences to help inform policy actions. I have lobbied with my MP and spoken at an Impact day where I shared my experience with others in the community. I also raise awareness of blood cancer and Blood Cancer UK in my local area.
My husband and I have also done various fundraising events including a coast to coast bike ride, bikeathons, a spinathon, the Prudential Ride London, a Black Tie Ball, Northern Soul Night, Tea with the Girls coffee morning at a Golf Club, Golf Day, my Dad has done a Flute recital, my daughter sold Blood Cancer UK pin badges at her school, me and my friend developed a Blood Cancer UK candle, bucket collecting at Market Rasen race course, I made and sold show bows at my daughter’s Dance School and I am currently selling a brand new unworn wedding dress that was donated.
I will be forever grateful to those inspiring, selfless people in the past who have tirelessly given up their time to raise the vital funds that mean that I am still here today. Without their efforts the research carried out and advances in treatments and outcomes wouldn't have happened. I am aware of families who have gone on to campaign and fund raise even though their loved one hasn't survived and I'm unbelievably grateful to them as well as inspired by their strength. I am now playing my part, like they did, to help future generations survive and thrive.
Fundraising for Blood Cancer UK is something I am passionate about because I know that every penny I pass on to them goes into the world class, lifesaving research that they carry out in the UK. I have seen first-hand how life changing and lifesaving research is, with some friends benefiting directly from drugs and clinical trials
Friends and family often feel helpless when a loved one is diagnosed with a blood cancer so doing something practical like fundraising is really valuable in many ways. I know this from our own personal experience, many of our friends have taken on challenges such as the Leeds Triathalon, London Marathon, local cycling events, Great North Swim, Great North Run to name but a few and they continue to sign up for future events. It warms my heart when they tell me they have signed up for something for Blood Cancer UK because they have been inspired by me.
It really is life changing, being involved in campaigning for those affected by blood cancers, volunteering and fundraising opens you up to a world of wonderful, selfless and inspiring people who understand you and become your friends and support network. You may have been brought together by something dark but I can honestly say that they have helped me see the light again.
During the organising and running of these events we’ve had lots of fun, enhanced friendships, make new friendships and above all been touched by the many wonderful gestures from everyone around us, it really does put the feel good factor back into your life again.
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