rich Castle
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My story

rich Castle
Posted by
07 Mar 2014

I was first diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APL) in May 2008.

The diagnosis was a result of urgent blood tests which my GP sent me for because of some unexplained bruising and soft tissue bleeding from my gums. My treatment started almost immediately after being admitted to The Royal Marsden in Sutton. I had drug therapy which included high dose chemo and tablets. Following this I was released to go back home. I returned to the Marsden for 3 further stays to have consolidation chemo. Following this I was placed on maintenance therapy for 2 years.  I went back to work in October 2008.

In September 2009 I relapsed and then had further chemo and radiotherapy to prepare me for a stem cell transplant. The search for a donor started and it wasn’t long before one was found, my brother Gary. I had the transplant in December 2009 and was allowed to go home on Christmas Eve which was fantastic. Also, I exchanged contracts on my new home from my hospital bed on the 18th December.

In April 2010 I returned to my job as a Train Driver/Instructor which I still do to this day. I go to the Marsden every 3 months for follow up blood tests and 6 monthly bone marrow aspirates.

Inspired by the success of my treatment and the fantastic research by the charity, I decided to become a volunteer; after all without their work I wouldn’t be here at all.  My first assignment was in April 2011 at the ‘Give Blood Cancer The Red Card’ event at Selhurst Park; the home of Crystal Palace FC who I have supported all my life. I appeared on the pitch alongside Geoff Thomas and told the crowd my story. Here's a picture of me alongside Eagles lenged Geoff Thomas:

 


My next job was at London Bikeathon, this was fantastic. I was filmed and appeared in the promo video for this event. I have since volunteered at a number of events including Christmas Carols with the Stars, a carol service fundraiser in Chelsea and one or two others. In September 2012 I rode 26 miles in the London Bikeathon and raised about £300.00. 

I enjoy being a volunteer for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research as I want to say thanks and give something back to this wonderful organisation. Without the lifesaving work they do I wouldn’t be able to share my story. That's why I'm taking part again in this year's London Bikeathon - I want to help others beat blood cancer as I did.

After two year's riding the 26 mile course, this year, I've decded to up the mileage and go for the 52 mile course and am going to put together a team of survivors to raise as much money as I possibly can. I'll have to get the bike out and primed and ready for some serious training this time round as I need to be able to keep up wth the unstoppable Andy Jackson so that I can at least get to the beer tent before him and grab a beer before he drinks it dry!!!

Rich’s determination is an inspiration to us all and is proof that blood cancer patients can go on to lead perfectly normal lives after treatment. Join him at this year's London Bikeathon and help make a difference to the lives of blood cancer patients.

Comments

Anonymous
11.03.2014

So pleased you were young enough and strong enough for the treatment and that you are now in remission. Please God it stays that way. Well done for all your fundraising. Sadly I lost my husband to AML last year but he was 67 at diagnosis. One day hopefully everyone who gets this terrible disease will have successful outcomes thanks to fundraisers like you. I wish you a long and disease free future.