Andy J
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Impact Day: An opportunity to reflect on how far we've come

Andy J
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25 Apr 2014

This time 10 years ago I was preparing myself to go in to hospital to undergo a bone marrow transplant.

A decade on and I'm getting ready to celebrate the progress that's been made in the fight against blood cancer at Impact Day with hundreds of others that have been affected by blood cancer.

And we have a lot to celebrate. There's been huge progress in the treatment of chronic myeloid leukaemia alone. Glivec, which was very much the new 'wonder drug' full of promise when I was diagnosed in 2003, is now a mainstream drug benefitting the lives of countless patients and four out of five patients now survive a bone marrow transplant compared to just one out five 50 years ago. 

Patients are receiving treatments that are personally tailored to their specific needs which is minimising the body's exposure to dangerously hgh levels of radio and chemotherapy, thus reducing the reducing the risk of long term damage and complications that were commonplace with early treatment options.

Back in the '60s, '70s and early '80s treatments were so punitive on the body that long term complications were almost inevitable and bone marrow transplant patients were required to live in protective bubbles without any access to visitors for fear of them picking up a potentially fatal infection and four out of five never made it out of hospital.

From personal experience alone I was amazed how far treatment has come. For every headache there was a pill to numb the pain, for every attack of nausea there was a treatment that would keep it at bay and for every infection there was an antibiotic that was able to stop it in its tracks. I spent less than a calendar month in hospital in the end and I was off to university just 3 months after my transplant. Extraordinary.

Now, I appreicate that not everyone's experience is as positive as mine but the basic fact remains that we've come a long, long way and I'm really excited about finding out more about what the future could potentially hold at Impact Day.

The ultimate goal, of course, is that all blood cancer patients not only beat blood cancer but also go on to lead perfectly normal lives afterwards as I've been fortunate enough to do. I believe that this can and WILL happen sooner rather than later and I'm determined to do my bit by raising money for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research through my 30 before 30 challenge.

Join Andy at Impact Day on Saturday 25th April at the Tower Hotel on St. Katherine's Way in London to celebrate how far we've come and discuss how together we can beat blood cancer.



Great blog Andy thanks for sharing

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