Melody Berthoud
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"Of course" said I

Melody Berthoud
Posted by
19 Feb 2017

My son was diagnosed with a blood cancer in 2012 and my life was changed forever.
He took his last chemo in 2016 and my life changed again. The fight was over. We beat Leukaemia.
Since that day, on 20th February 2016, whilst he has been thriving and surviving I have been raising awareness through my work as a Bloodwise Ambassador.

My son was diagnosed with a blood cancer in 2012 and my life was changed forever.

He took his last chemo in 2016 and my life changed again.  The fight was over.  We beat Leukaemia.

Since that day, on 20th February 2016, whilst he has been thriving and surviving:

I wrote a book about our journey. In 21 hours, through a Kickstarter campaign, I raised the money needed to get it published.

I tweeted Bloodwise to ask if I could send them a copy and met the wonderful Andy Jackson. My relationship with the charity began.  Bloodwise’s Friday #feelalive kept me going in those long final months of treatment in 2016 when the end was rushing towards us whilst always staying tantalisingly out of reach. 

Andy and the team read my book.  I wrote some blogs on their website and was asked to become an ambassador for the charity, spreading awareness of the work they do. 

"Of course" said I

My first outing was to Toby Peach’s play in October 2016.

“First outing as a Bloodwise ambassador tonight at the theatre. Honoured to experience 'The Eulogy of Toby Peach' which made me laugh, cry, laugh, reflect, laugh and then stand and applaud.

Who knew one man's battle with cancer could be so amusing.

It was a wonderful insight into how an adult coped with a cancer diagnosis, treatment, relapse and then finally getting to remission. Bish bash bosh. He talked about the costs of his treatment £50k+ and how the NHS and tax payers, us, foot that bill... for one person. Yet everyday 100 people are told they have blood cancer alone. One day one of us might need your money again but for now THANK YOU, for paying your taxes.

Thank you for paying for Andrew's world class treatment which means today he is at home in bed, well and thriving. It made me feel better about writing my book, to get over the arrogance I feel that sharing our journey is meaningful and important as all awareness is vital. If you get the chance then go and see the play.

Cancer is us, millions of pieces of us, on a stage doing a one man show.”

In November 2016 one of my blog’s caught Bloodwise’ eye “What I didn’t know about cancer” and they asked if they could use it as the basis of their winter appeal. https://bloodwise.org.uk/blog/what-i-didnt-know-about-cancer

"Of course" said I

I had hundreds of photos of Andrew throughout treatment which I dropboxed over.  There was a phone interview and then they sent me the final proofs which I loved and gave the go ahead. The appeal arrived through letterboxes in mid-November. https://bloodwise.org.uk/winterappeal

 It's not everyday you get post through the door with your own face on!

The appeal meant Andrew was in the local press ‘Beckenham childhood leukaemia patient to be face of national cancer charity campaign’.  His school were very proud and asked me if they could raise money during the Christmas retiring collections. http://www.bromleytimes.co.uk/news/beckenham_childhood_leukaemia_patient_to_be_face_of_national_cancer_charity_campaign_1_4775185

"Of course" said I

They raised £807 for Bloodwise. 

In December 2016 there came an invitation to ‘Christmas with the stars’ at the Royal Albert Hall where we met fellow ambassadors, some of the original calendar girls, and an interval dance and PR opportunity with the Strictly Come Dancing finalists. Ed Gleave reported this in the Daily Star the next day.

Next Andy asked me if I would like to be interviewed as part of a series of ‘Facebook live’. https://www.facebook.com/bloodwise.uk/videos/10154910634728243/

"Of course" said I

Ed Gleave got in touch again and asked if he could write an article about Andrew’s first Christmas since finishing treatment.

"Of course" said I

It was published in January 2017. http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/576371/Young-boy-cancer-Christmas-home-4-years-hospital

Late January Bloodwise got in touch as the BBC needed a family who had completed treatment to be interviewed in conjunction with the Duke of Kent’s visit to the Bloodwise research lab at UCL.

Professor Tariq Enver, “a world-leading expert in the field of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia,” (ALL) is leading the programme. The research team is specifically targeting genetic “faults and networks” which allow cancer to resist treatment. They hope to develop kinder treatment options than the current chemotherapy which are commonly offered to treat this illness.

"Of course" said I

Early February Bloodwise invited the ambassadors to the dress rehearsal of a new musical based on the story of the calendar girls written by Tim Firth and Gary Barlow.  Would I like free tickets? Would I like to meet some more of the brilliant ambassadors who work so hard to raise money and awareness?

"Of course" said I

Today is the 20th February 2017 – one year to the day since Andrew took his last chemotherapy at bed time and spontaneously shouted “I beat you leukaemia”.  Tonight Joseph, Clara, Andrew and I have been invited to the gala opening of ‘The Girls’, with a handful of ambassadors and some celebrities.  Did we want to come?

Bloodwise – thank you for helping me to spread awareness and therefore feel like something good has come out of Andrew’s diagnosis and recovery. Thank you for the many opportunities to make a difference.  I hope to give something back to you through the sales of 'We Beat Leukaemia'.  http://amzn.eu/94R8WNr  

"Of course" said I

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