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Rillington leukaemia patient joins Sir Ian Botham on special anniversary charity walk

The Bloodwise logo. Bloodwise appears in black text against a white background
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14 Apr 2010

A leukaemia patient from Rillington is joining cricket legend Sir Ian Botham as he celebrates 25 years of walking for blood cancer charity Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research in Manchester in April.

Leslie Johnson, 63, will be walking with Beefy at Manchester’s stunning Heaton Park on Saturday 10 April, the first leg of his 10 day charity walk to help raise vital funds in the fight against childhood leukaemia.

After developing lumps under his chin and on the side of his neck, Leslie was referred to St James’ Hospital in Leeds where blood tests revealed he had chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). Leslie was accepted on a clinical trial and received six months of intensive treatment.

Leslie says: “When I was diagnosed it didn’t really sink in but over time I have learnt so much about it and I am now hopeful about the future.”

Leslie finished his treatment in December and has been carrying on with life as normal - continuing his work as a painter and decorator, carrying out his duties as church warden and preparing for the walk with Beefy by walking two miles every day with his wife Karen.

Leslie says: “I really feel so thankful for what people have done for me. I am so looking forward to the walk and meeting others with similar stories. It’s about reaching out and raising awareness. 40 or 50 years ago it was virtual death sentence, now more and more people are surviving thanks to the research carried out by Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.”

Beefy will be walking through ten towns over ten days from 10-19 April. He will be setting out on the first day of his special charity walk from the Marks & Spencer on Market Street in Manchester. He will walk for 10 miles through Manchester before arriving at Heaton Park, where people can join him and walk to raise vital funds for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.

Sir Ian says: “I never forget why I put myself through the pain and the blisters.  I am determined to beat childhood leukaemia but I can’t do it on my own. So please sign up now and help us fight this terrible disease.”