What a successful Impact Day!
I had no real idea of what to expect when I turned up at the Tower Hotel having never been to the event before. However, I can honestly say that I was completely blown away!
The guest speakers were outstanding and talked with such passion and excitement about the work that they are doing and the possibilities that lie ahead that it was impossible not to feel excited about the future. I think that this was a feeling shared by everyone who attended, including the researchers themselves with Cardiff's chronic lymphocytic leukaemia researcher extraordinaire, Dr Chris Pepper, going as far as saying he could see a time when he'd be looking for a new job!
It was great, too, to see just how far we've come in the treatment of blood cancer over the past 60 years. This was brilliantly demonstrated by the blood cancer through the ages exhibition which show cased studies from the 60s, 80s, 2000s and present day as well as how we see treatment in the future.
However, my highlight was meeting up with fundraisers and patients and hearing their incredible stories and achievements. People like Colin Contini who last month bungee jumped backwards - yes BACKWARDS - off the tallest building in the world or CML patient Nigel Deekes who has set up a Facebook support group that is making an enormous difference to the lives of chronic myeloid leukaemia sufferers by providing a safe place for them to share their feelings, concerns and experiences.
However my fondest moment was meeting up with a man called Paul Carless. Paul had made his way over to the future exhibit and was looking a little lost and slightly anxious. I got chatting with Paul and discovered that he had recently been diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia and whilst he had the support of his friends and family was in desperate need of talking to someone who was going through what he was going through.
I showed him Patient Support - a brand new section of our website designed for patients to find information and share their experiences about blood cancer with others on similar journeys. I then told him about the CML support group on Facebook before introducing him to Nigel Deekes who also has CML.
Within a few minutes Paul's entire demeanour had changed. He had a smile on his face again and the relief was palpable. He left, as I did, feeling more positive about things and that's what Impact Day is all about.
I've always believed that one day we will beat blood cancer and after seeing the positvity, togetherness and determination demonstrated by everyone present, I felt more sure than ever that that day will be sooner rather than later.
Read more about this year's Impact Day