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Donate to help beat blood cancer this Christmas

Will you help change the odds for children like Mia this Christmas?

The day your baby is born is the most incredible day of your life.

If you’re a parent, I’m sure you can still feel the happiness yourself. I know I can. If I close my eyes, I can feel the joy of holding my baby for the first time and remember how her beautiful big eyes looked up at me. She was my most precious gift. But if I keep my eyes closed for a little longer, this beautiful moment is soon followed by the feeling of horror that came seven months after that wonderful day.

A mother and her very young child pose together in hospital surrounded by medical equipment.

The doctor told us that Mia had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. I couldn’t believe the words coming out of the doctor’s mouth. That last word... I remember thinking, ‘babies don’t get cancer’.

But they do.

The doctor also said that nine out of ten children beat leukaemia nowadays. That at least gave us some hope to cling onto. But even that hope was shattered when we learned the chance of babies with leukaemia surviving until their fifth birthday is in fact only 50:50.

How can this be possible?

Mia’s only chance was gruelling chemotherapy treatment that some of the world’s most talented scientists are striving to improve. They’re working so hard to find better and more effective ways to help beat blood cancer. And today, I’m asking you to help them.

You could help give more children like Mia a better chance of spending next Christmas at home with their family. This Christmas, will you help give more children like Mia a better chance of surviving?

A child poses in front of a teddy-bear adorned Christmas tree with her parents.

Our lives changed forever when Mia was diagnosed. Straight away, her life became one never-ending cycle of treatments, including lumbar punctures, bone marrow operations, blood transfusions and chemotherapy. It was like torture having to watch our tiny little daughter suffer through all this – even though we knew it was the only way to save her life.

My partner Simon and I left our jobs to become around-the-clock carers in hospital – that’s where Mia spent her first birthday, Christmas and New Year. On one of her good days, she even took her first steps on the ward – an incredibly precious and magical milestone.

A very young child walks through a hospital corridor with her father.

After nine long months, Mia was finally discharged. However, she still had a further year-and-a-half of treatment, including daily chemotherapy and weekly blood tests. We still had to keep her isolated, and every time she got a temperature, she was rushed straight back to hospital. The anxiety was unbearable at times – but as a parent you do whatever you can for your baby, don’t you?

Thankfully, Mia made it through. The joy we felt when she finished her treatment was right up there with the day she was born. Right now, she’s excited about Christmas – just like any other little girl. This one will be our fifth together.

A young child Mia sits in a park next to her puppy dog.

We’re so grateful to Blood Cancer UK, the fact that we still have our beautiful daughter with us today is all down to the researchers who make treatments like hers possible. We know just how lucky we are – because tragically, not every child makes it through.

Every child deserves a full and complete life. Babies diagnosed with cancer deserve better odds for survival. This is what drives us to do all we can for those families who will hear devastating news like ours in the future.

A family poses for a group selfie on holiday, in front of a castle.

Last Christmas, we organised a sponsored walk with local families to raise funds. Our personal journey inspired Simon to develop a trainer company called Ones – with a share of the profits going to Blood Cancer UK. It took us one step at a time to get through our battle. Ones represents that journey.

Although at the time I was devastated that Mia was having her first birthday and Christmas in hospital, today I feel the opposite. I am thankful to the scientists and research that meant I had even those special days.

With your support, I hope I will enjoy every future birthday and Christmas with my daughter for the rest of my life.

This Christmas, please help fund lifesaving research and provide hope for more families like Mia’s.

For children like Mia, life is very tough. My research could improve the lives of children with leukaemia through tailored treatment.

- Professor Christine Harrison, University of Newcastle

A young child Mia rings the end of treatment bell, held up by her father.

For 60 years, Blood Cancer UK’s researchers have been committed to beating blood cancer. Thanks to supporters like you, we’ve made a huge difference to countless people’s lives, but there is still so much to do.

40,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with blood cancer every year. Some of them are babies like Mia. Will you help more of them to survive?

This Christmas, 167 researchers, pushing 90 research projects forwards at 27 different institutions, need your help to develop better treatments. Can they count on your support?

A young child - Mia - poses with a certificate dress as a superhero and flanked by two adults, a man and a woman.

How your gift can bring hope to children like Mia this Christmas

  • £10 could allow researchers to analyse blood cancer cells which will help to create new treatments, improve early diagnosis or even prevent blood cancer from developing in the first place. This could spare more babies like Mia from undergoing such harsh treatment.
  • £50 could help scientists to look at genetic patterns in tumour samples, improve diagnosis and treatments. This could mean that more families like Mia, Simon and Anjna would spend less time in hospital for ongoing treatments.
  • £150 could fund a research nurse for a day, making sure that blood cancer patients have a hand to hold while they’re testing new treatments. This could mean that parents like Anjna and Simon won’t have to move into the hospital to support a child who’s being treated for cancer.