I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) back in May of 2000 just 2 days before my 25th birthday. I’m Australian and had been living in London for about 9 months when I was diagnosed, and then spent 3 months in a London hospital having chemo before returning to Australia to complete my treatment which included a Bone Marrow Transplant using my sisters stem cells. The transplant seemed to working at first but then I quickly developed graft versus host disease and spent the next 12 months in hospital suffering through many different complications.
It took a long time to get to where I am now, so when a very close friend of mine was diagnosed with Acute Myloid Leukaemia (AML) earlier this year it was a huge blow and very tough to take. As leukaemia is quite rare disease, I had always thought that since I had it I was the unlucky one and that the odds of one of my friends ever getting it would be slim to none. Each year in Australia there are only around 900 cases of leukaemia diagnosed, half of which, are of the acute form, so against a population of 23 million and accounting for a mere 1% of all cancer cases it is quite rare. The thought of a close friend having to go through what I did was very upsetting to me and it gave me the desire to do something in order to raise money and awareness for a leukaemia charity and at the same time support and encourage a dear friend as he goes through his journey with leukaemia. I've chosen Mont Blanc as it'll be both a mental and physical struggle but very rewarding if we can safely reach the summit as planned on the 2nd or 3rd of August 2013, weather permitting.
Mont Blanc is Western Europe’s highest mountain peak and a friend of mine, Keith Robertson, who has a lot more alpine mountaineering experience than I, has very kindly agreed to join me on the climb and in raising funds for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, which are the only UK charity dedicated to improving the lives of patients with all types of blood cancer, including leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Their life-saving research is focused on finding causes, improving diagnosis and treatments, and running groundbreaking clinical trials for all blood cancer patients. Hopefully the months of training and the weather conditions will enable me to reach the summit and raise some funds and awareness for a great cause.
If you can spare few pounds, dollars or dirhams please support me in helping out a great cause and giving my friend a bit of encouragement. Of course if you can’t spare any cash why not get down to your local blood bank and donate some blood, platelets or plasma…..all of which could be useful to the people who are going through their leukaemia treatments right now……or how about putting yourself on the stem cell donor list. Not everyone diagnosed with luekaemia will be as lucky as I was to have a sister or brother matched donor so the more people on the donor list the better their chances of finding a match and becoming a survivor.
Thanks to you all in advance for your support, it means the world to me.