Andy Jackson
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Awesome April

Andy Jackson
Posted by
03 May 2015

From afternoon tea with the original Calendar Girls to photo shoots for our new website content and taking part in the London Marathon, April has been a brilliant month! Read on to find out more about what you've all been up to.

To say April was a busy month would be something of an understatement! You were fantastic in all your efforts and it made me realise just how lucky we are to have you all as supporters.

Highlights for me include Paul Carless's brilliant Facebook Live, the brilliant press coverage Mark Noblet and Louise Macleod generated from the Tea with the Girls launch and the first of our Impact Days in Glasgow and London.

Here's a more detailed look at some of the things that you've been up to:

1. Impact Day

On Saturday 22nd April 15 of you joined us at either the London or Glasgow Impact Day and did us all proud manning the stalls and supporting the other guests. Your presence made an enormous difference in the smooth running of both of the days which were extremely well received by everyone that attended with several having no idea that you weren't full time members of staff!

A huge thank you to each and every one of you that gave up your Saturdays and in many cases travelling some considerable distances in order to get there. You were all fantastic and I've absolutely no doubt that May's Impact Days in Bristol, Leeds and Birmingham will also be a huge success.

Special thanks to Gill Murphy (above) for stepping in as the patient speaker at the London Impact Day after George Norton sadly had to pull out at the last minute through illness. Gill had never spoken publicly about her experiences but did a great job of hiding that with a wonderful speech that had me reaching for a tissue on more than a couple of occasions.

More importantly Gill's speech really helped focus minds on the reason everyone was there and the impact that research and support can have on the lives of patients and their families.

2. Paul Carless's Facebook Live

On Thursday April 27th Paul Carless joined us for our latest Faceboook Live to talk about his experiences of living with chronic myeloid leukaemia. Paul spoke for almost an hour and provided some brilliant advice and tips to listeners in one of our most successful patient inverviews yet, reaching more than 65,000 people.

A huge thank you to Paul for helping out and to Nigel Deekes and everyone else that took the time to send in a question for Paul ahead of the Q&A. If you missed Paul's interview you can watch it again here.

Kate Giles has very kindly agreed to be next month's interviewee however we're always on the look out for more willing volunteers. If you're interested in taking part in a future Facebook Live do send me an email at and I'll look arrange a time and date that works for you.

3. Amazing press coverage

Right at the beginning of the month Anna Mamwell had a fantastic interview with BBC Radio Lincolnshire about her experiences of losing her hair, following on from Victoria Derbyshire's video in which she also talked about hair loss as a result of cancer treatment. Anna followed this up her with a typically honest blog.

We also got some fantastic coverage around the Tea with the Girls launch thanks to Mark Noblet and Louise Macleod including a fantastic piece in the Huddersfield Daily Examiner. We also got coverage on ITV news which included a brilliant interview with Mark. Sadly, I don't have a link to the clip but I do have this photo of Mark which is up there with my favourites to date!

Tea with the Girls is a really exciting new fundraising campaign which we're hoping will do so much to help raise awareness and funds for the charity. A number of you have already expressed an interest in hosting a tea party and I think we can really set the example for others to follow.

Read my blog about Tea with the Girls to find out more about how you can get involved.

4. Sharing experiences

We had some more brilliant blogs this month about your blood cancer experiences, all of which we also shared on Facebook, generating some brilliant awareness and conversation among other blood cancer patients and their families. Thank you Jane Leahy, David Corrin, George Norton, Anna Mamwell, Sam Farr and Lisa Griffiths for taking the time to blog.

A huge thank you, too, to everyone that engaged with other patients and shared experiences on our Facebook page. I say this every month but cannot tell you how much of a difference you all make. You have a huge impact in helping us create a community atmosphere that encourages others to engage in peer-to-peer support and share their experiences, opening up dialogue that otherwise wouldn't happen.

Going forwards we really want to grow our patient community both on the Bloodwise website and our Facebook page. I'm working on a social media guide to help you talk about us more online however in the meantime do keep blogging!

If you haven't shared your story yet but would like to then please do fill out our Ambassador story form and I'll be in touch about then helping you turn it in to a blog.

5. Fundraising update

April was a massive month for fundraising efforts. Sissy and Luke both pounding the pavements with 35,000 + other runners in the London Marathon after months of hard work and training understandably takes top billing. Running the marathon is a phenomenal achievement and Sissy has raised more than £3000 already while the marathon for Luke is just the start as he will also be taking part in the Blenheim Triathlon next month.

Meanwhile Rich Castle was part of a hugely successful football match in memory of a dear friend - read Rich's blog to find out more - while Emma Harrison was in touch to let us know that her son, Ollie, did a brilliant job raising funds through his teddy tombola with a little help from his friends at school.

A number of you have also signed up to take part in Nancy's Sunflower Competition (myself included) while Emma Bottoms also deserves a special mention for managing to convince the chair of her running club to have Bloodwise as the supported charity for their annual club race in July.

Going forwards it would be great to put our heads together and come up with some fundraising events and enter some fundraising teams. If this is something that you're interested in getting more involved in do let me know. I'll also be putting some ideas out in the Ambassador Facebook group later this month so watch this space!      

6. Raising Awareness

Many of you have been doing a wonderful job raising awareness in your local communities which is something that is so, so important going forwards as we look to reach out to everyone affected by blood cancer.

Emma Blaikie was in touch to say that she'd been talking to her consultant at St. John's Hospital in Livingston about ordering some information booklets for the department and the patient area. Emma has also taken a contact as her consultant wants the oncology department involved and updated which might even include some talks and involvement with nurses.

Meanwhile Susie Gander has been hard at work on her Perry Winkle comic which she hopes to debut at the Nottingham Comic Con on 14th October. The comic is all about her experiences of treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma and will be brilliant at helping to explain treatment and raise awareness in a way that people can understand.

Down in the South West Brett Grist also presented about us to 30 people at his local Health Centre's Public Participation Group where, it turns out, his 80 year old chairman, Brian, has been suffering from CLL for a number of years. Brett passed on our contact card and Brian now knows that support is available to him should he feel he needs it.

Finally, Michael Koufalitakis is looking in to setting up a Bloodwise stall where he lives in Essex for an annual show which attracts more than 50,000 people.

We want to do so much more of this kind of thing going forwards so if you have any ideas at all please don't hesitate to get in touch with Alice at 

7. Other            

April saw the official launch of 'Please Offer Me Seat' campaign with Transport for London which offers people with illnesses and long-term conditions the opportunity to apply for a badge and card to help alert other transport users of their need to sit down.

Our very own Katie Ruane played a huge role in getting this campaign off the ground while a number of you helped out/provided feedback during the trials phase. Huge thanks to all involved - you can find out more about the initiative here.

Enormous thanks, too, to Erica Farmer, Kate Giles and Trevor Humber for inviting us into their homes to do some photoshoots and talk to them more about their experiences of being on watch and wait for as we continue to work on some new pages for our website.

Last and by no means least a huge thank you to everyone that's been supporting Jane Leahy and Katie Ruane in the Ambassador Facebook group. It's wonderful that you all get along so well and this is exactly the sort of role that we hope you'll have an opportunity to do more of going forwards as we look to build our online community.