John Reeve
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How I help beat blood cancer in my role as a Trustee

John Reeve
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07 Nov 2013

I've been at trustee at Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research for 4 years and am incredibly proud to be a member of such a fantastic charity. For me, becoming a trustee was a big step towards helping young people with acute leukaemia. That purpose was forged out of the darkest days of my life, when our younger son, Tim, died of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, age 23, in December 2005.

As a trustee, I'm an enthusiastic and committed fundraiser; I've walked to Germany, climbed mountains, cycled from London to Paris and been helped by many people to organise lots of fundraising events, so that as a family, we have now raised £400,000 since Tim died. Our view was, and is, that the best way to use that money is to contribute to research and clinical trials to improve treatments, save more lives and improve the quality of life of blood cancer patients.

I'm chair of our Patient Impact Committee and am playing a part in transforming Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research from a charity that funded research to one which collaborates with partners to deliver benefits for patients and, where everything we do, is clearly linked to and driven by our mission to beat blood cancers and our need to raise more money to help save every life.

I'm also a patient representative on the Clinical Studies Group that oversees all clinical trials in the UK in leukaemia and myeloma and have helped to set up a new support group, B Positive, for patients and carers with adult acute leukaemia. These roles bring me into contact with haematology researches, clinicians, patients and carers on a regular basis and helps me to represent the voice of patients at Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.

This week I've spent two days at the National Cancer Research Institute's Annual Conference in Liverpool and been overwhelmed and encouraged by the ever-increasing rate of improvement in our understanding of cancer and how this is being translated into earlier and more accurate diagnosis and improved treatments. Work calls and, sadly, I'll miss John Radford's presentation of the results of the RAPID clinical trial in Hodgkin Lymphoma, one of only four clinical trials presented at the Conference, and funded by Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.

I've also met two patients at the conference  - Garry, a chronic lymphcytic leukaemia patient and, Paul, a Non-Hodgkin lymphoma survivor. Both have amazing stories to tell and both are now, as patient representatives, helping to make clinical trials work even better and help more patients. Like me, Garry and Paul, out of the "worst of times" have found a way to make the best of it. As a trustee, I've met some wonderful people, seen some amazing things and get so much back that I feel privileged to have this opportunity.