Brian K
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Taking on Blenheim Palace Triathlon to help beat blood cancer

Brian K
Posted by
13 Feb 2014

When I was diagnosed with leukaemia on holiday, this website helped my family understand my illness. Now I'm taking on Blenheim triathlon so that Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research can help more patients like they helped me.

I was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukaemia whilst on holiday in Canada in September 2012.  I had thought I was suffering from a viral infection and a bit of jet lag until a blood test and an evacuation by air ambulance to the specialist leukaemia ward at Vancouver General Hospital left me in no doubt that I was seriously ill.

I was made aware that my prognosis for survival had improved dramatically thanks to medical research and the development of new drugs.  The Leukaemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada produced an informative booklet explaining my disease, my treatment, the likely side-effects and I was able to direct family and friends to the UK Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research website to help them understand the nature of my illness.

Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research not only provided authoritative information for my family and friends on the other side of the world, but I quickly realised that their fundraising activities were directly helping people like me to beat blood cancer through the clinical trials and research they were funding.  After 5 weeks of chemotherapy and various medications, I was allowed to fly home and transferred into the care of one of the charity's ‘centres of excellence’ at Salisbury District Hospital for further treatment.

I am currently in remission and as part of my drive to return to normal, I have started exercising again.  Deciding that my exercising should be put to better use, my wife suggested that we compete in a Triathlon and try to raise some funds for a good cause in the process.  To that end, given my situation, raising funds for LLR at the Blenheim Triathlon seemed the perfect solution.

I have started dedicated Triathlon training less than one year after finishing chemotherapy treatment.  One of the challenges I now face, other than training in the midst of winter, is that I now have a condition that requires fortnightly venesection treatment (ie donating 500ml of blood) to reduce my iron stores – this treatment lowers my haemoglobin level so that my body ‘gives up’ the excess iron as it regenerates the red blood cells – unfortunately, exercise and reduced haemoglobin are not a good combination. 

I am hopeful that my experience will encourage friends and family to dig deep into their pockets and be generous with their donations! Please donate here.