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Minreet’s marathon for mum with myeloma

18th Apr 2024 - Edward Pinches


Minreet Kaur, 43, is a journalist from West London. She was left in shock when her mum Pritpal Kaur, was diagnosed with the blood cancer, myeloma. It’s not a disease they’d heard of, and it’s not something that’s often talked about in the South Asian community

Two women smiling at camera

Minreet with her mum, Pritpal


“When we heard about my mum’s diagnosis last September I nearly fainted, it was a huge shock."

- Minreet, West London

And although blood cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the UK, many people aren’t aware that leukaemia, myeloma, and lymphoma are all forms of blood cancer.

Studies show that only 68% of people fully understand their blood cancer diagnosis, compared to 81% of people with breast cancer or bowel cancer. All too often, we hear that people are not aware their condition is a type of blood cancer, and therefore miss out on support they are entitled to.

Awareness of blood cancer is particularly low in the Southeast Asian community

Our own survey, although admittedly in a small sample, shows that those with blood cancer of Asian, Black, Mixed or other ethnic origin are more than twice as likely (14% vs 6%) to be unaware that their diagnosis is a type of blood cancer compared to those who are White.

Minreet had certainly never heard of it before her mum’s diagnosis.

“Myeloma to me was a shock - I thought it was melanoma (a skin cancer) at first. I just didn't know what myeloma was, as I'd never heard of it.

“My mum just felt dirty, she felt sad and started crying. She didn’t know what blood cancer was either. It’s turned our lives upside down.

- Minreet, talking about her mum's diagnosis reaction

A complete diagnosis is vital for people with blood cancer to understand their treatment options along with areas of care and support they may need. More of our research shows that aiding understanding would greatly benefit those who classify themselves as ethnic minorities. But the stark fact is that services are not reaching enough people and it is often people from minoritised ethnic groups, in particular, who are missing out.

Raising the profile of blood cancer is something at Blood Cancer UK, we know we must do urgently.

Shockingly, people from an Asian, Black, Mixed, or other ethnic origin are twice as likely to find out they have blood cancer from a faceless source – like the internet rather than a healthcare practitioner compared to people who are white.

A complete diagnosis is vital for people to understand their treatment options along with areas of care and support they may need. But the stark fact is that these services are not reaching enough people and it is often people from minoritised ethnic groups, in particular, who are missing out.

Talking about diagnoses is one way to raise the profile of blood cancer and Minreet now champions increased awareness of myeloma in her community.

"There's a lack of awareness"

"I feel there is a huge lack of awareness of blood cancer in my community and little data on the different forms of blood cancer as well.

"It needs more awareness and more needs to be done."

Women and man smiling

Minreet with her dad, preparing for the marathon

Pritpal’s treatment plan

While myeloma is a treatable blood cancer, it is not yet curable. Thanks to research that in part we’ve helped fund, there are lots of treatment options. But treatment is tough and Pritpal is often low on energy.

“She is up and down. She feels weak, has back pain, and feels tired. She is unable to do the activities she enjoys, and even with walking she gets tired. But despite this she’s a fighter and is so positive - it’s inspiring.”

Thankfully Pritpal is now in her last month of chemotherapy after receiving weekly chemo for two months, followed by chemotherapy every two weeks.

The family are hopeful the treatment will work and after April, Pritpal, who is 73, will receive treatment once a month and have regular blood tests to monitor her disease.

London Marathon 2024 - Minreet's Story

Minreet and her dad are now running the 2024 London Marathon for Blood Cancer UK to show their support for their mum and raise the profile of blood cancer that’s vitally needed.

Taking part is particularly important for them, as Pritpal herself took on the marathon last year.

“She gave the marathon a go last year, but due to really bad muscle cramps at mile 17, she couldn't finish it.”

Minreet’s dad known as the Skipping Sikh, who is 75 will also be taking on the challenge making it a family affair.

“Running has saved my life and helped me through a really difficult time. My father is 75 and he is now doing his fourth full marathon. He wants to raise awareness and encourage more people over 70 to stay active, he does some sort of exercise every day.

This year we particularly want to raise as much awareness of blood cancer as we can, especially in the South Asian community

I want to do this for my mum because I want her to know when she gets through her treatment, she too can lead a normal life and get back to her fitness.”

The pair will join the near 100 strong Blood Cancer UK runners taking on London’s streets this year, all raising awareness and helping fund life-saving research.

To Minreet, and all our runners! Good luck!


For anyone who has secured a ballot place in 2024, there’s still time to join Team Blood Cancer UK ahead of the race! Contact us here.

And do check back at our sporting pages on Friday 19th April for charity place applications for 2025.

A runner high fives a supporter during a marathon. He wears a Blood Cancer UK vest.