A Merthyr Tydfil leukaemia patient is urging local residents to go the extra mile to beat blood cancers by joining the Merthyr Tydfil Forget Me Not Walk.
Mark Rowlands has organised the special event to raise money for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research on 12 June, and is asking people to put their best foot forward and help the charity get a step closer to a cure for leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma.
Mark was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) in 1996. He had been feeling unwell for sometime before visiting a doctor, where blood tests revealed the devastating news.
“I couldn’t take it on board straight away”, says Mark. “I was in a situation where things didn’t look very hopeful at all: the doctors believed my condition was terminal and I was given just three years to live, but I’ve received fantastic treatment and I’m still here today.”
Since his diagnosis 13-years ago, Mark has worked tirelessly in support of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, raising thousands of pounds through the charity’s Merthyr Tydfil Branch.
Over the last ten years the charity has invested £6.5 million at Cardiff University, funding world-class research into better treatments and cures for the two most common forms of leukaemia in adults.
Mark, who will be cheering the walkers on and handing out well-deserved medals at the finish, says: “The work of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research is essential – the treatment I received was only made possible by advances being made every year thanks to vital research.
"New drugs are constantly being developed, so I’ve always got hope that a cure will be found. I’m really moved by the incredible support that people have given me and the Branch over the years.
"We won’t stop until we’ve beaten blood cancers but we need your help to do it. Everyone is welcome to join us for the walk - even dogs! It should be a great day out and the more money raised equals more lives saved”.
Starting from the Rhydycar Leisure Centre, at 10am, the Merthyr Tydfil Forget Me Not Walk will follow the Taff Trail along the historic canal bank of the Merthyr to Cardiff Canal.
Walkers can choose between the three-mile walk to Abercanaid and back or the slightly longer option of six miles to Troedyrhiw and back. Both routes are flat and suitable for people of all ages.
Those wishing to join in should contact Mark Rowlands on 01685 388 960, 01685 374 300 or visit the walk page. Entry is free is but walkers are encouraged to find sponsorship or make a donation to Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.