Louise Dawson
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Leukaemia survivor Michelle Tustin raises over £11,000 for Bloodwise!

Louise Dawson
Posted by
02 Nov 2015

Michelle Tustin from Northampton has raised over £11,000 for Bloodwise from her charity ball held on Saturday 3 October.

Michelle Tustin from Northampton has raised over £11,000 for Bloodwise from her charity ball held on Saturday 3 October.

Michelle got in touch with the midlands office for Bloodwise back in March of this year. She had recently been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia in December 2014 and her life had been turned upside down. Not one to sit back and let the diagnosis dictate her life, however, she set about organising her own charity ball – a dream of hers had always been to wear a ball gown!

Throughout all of Michelle’s treatment she showed great strength and determination not to let the cancer beat her. Fantastic support from friends, family and local businesses helped her to organise the fundraising evening and raise much needed awareness of blood cancer.

To Michelle and to everyone who helped to organise and donate to the ball – thank you. Your support is helping many others just like Michelle, who are currently battling blood cancer.


Michelle’s story:

I was at work on Friday 12 December 2014 feeling a bit unwell with a really annoying thickly cough. I went to see The Wizard of Oz at the theatre the next day with my three year old son and husband but I was still feeling ill. On the Sunday, I couldn't get out of bed and had diagnosed myself with the flu! I stayed in bed to try and sleep it off. Little did I know what I had couldn't be "slept off"!

In the early hours of the Monday I woke my husband and said I needed to see a doctor. I was struggling to breathe and my chest was tight along with hot and cold sweats. The doctor said I had a chest infection but would like me to go to A & E for a chest X-ray for clarification. I was seen by a specialist who advised me my chest infection was in fact pneumonia. I was given a prescription and five days strict bed rest and was sent home!

After an hour at home, I received a call from my local GP who advised further tests had been carried out on my blood and I was to pack a bag and head straight to the hospital. In a funny way I was relieved as I knew I really didn't feel well, but I didn't know I'd been instructed to go to the cancer ward at Northampton General.

My consultant came in and told me the news no one ever wants to hear. I have blood cancer - AML (Acute Myeloid Leukaemia) as well as pneumonia.  My world shattered, I felt like my insides had been ripped out of me. My first thoughts were my three year old son, Charlie and my husband. Then my mum who has lost her mum to cancer, my dad to cancer and fought (and beat) breast cancer herself. Surely she couldn't be strong enough to cope with her daughter having cancer too. So, after the initial shock I simply turned to the consultant and said right, what are we going to do to beat this?

A plan was put in place and chemotherapy started on 19 December. I had four rounds of chemotherapy. I was in hospital for seven months in total with a few days "holiday" In between rounds. With all chemo come hiccups and I needed two lots of surgery and suffered many infections. But we got through it and on 2 July I was finally discharged and in full remission. I had a moto which I believed in which is "Everything is Doable". During tough times I referred to this moto and it really did help me. Positivity is also one of the best medicines; I didn't allow any tears in my room or near me.

Being in hospital and away from my loved ones was hard but I found ways to get through it and one of those was writing diaries of events and wish lists. Included on my wish list was to go to a ball, so I decided to organise my own! I started researching how I would go about it, venues, costs, suppliers and before I knew it I was in full swing and a ball was organised and held on 3 October 2015. We sold 260 tickets, had a raffle and auction, live music, compare, disco and DJ. It was a fantastic night and of course I got to wear a ball gown. I naturally have lost my hair due to my treatment but dressing up and looking glam was just what the doctor ordered!



That's just wonderful. Very well done.