Why getting a seat on the tube can be so important if you have blood cancer
Bloodwise Ambassador Katie Ruane is one of the faces of Transport for London’s Priority Seating Week. She explains why access to a seat on public transport in London makes a huge difference when you are living with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML)
Needing a seat on public transport when you are in your 30s looking fit and healthy has, until relatively recently, always been a big concern of mine when out and about. In fact, until I got a badge explaining that I need a seat, I didn’t realise the anxiety I got around traveling on public transport.
Living with a chronic blood cancer, chronic myeloid leukaemia, taking a daily pill chemotherapy for life, keeping my body in remission and alive has a side effect – chronic fatigue. My cancer is rare, not known about and I don’t look like a ‘normal’ bald cancer patient. This is good and bad. Good, that no one realises how I feel, and bad because no one realises how I feel.
I am unable to stand up for any length of time, it completely exhausts me. Wearing the ‘Please Offer Me a Seat’ badge along with a ‘Cancer On Board’ badge has given me freedom when I travel around. Freedom because I basically always get a seat. Freedom because I no longer worry about getting on the tube. Freedom because I don’t have to mentally bully myself through every journey telling myself it will be OK, that I can last until the next stop standing, praying that someone will get off and I get to the seat first. Freedom because no one glares at me when I don’t offer my seat to someone else, who visibly looks like they need it more. Freedom from travel anxiety. Which when you live in London, is huge.
Apply for a ‘please offer me a seat’ badge.
Read more about the ‘Cancer on Board’ badge.
Listen to Katie talk about the campaign on BBC Radio London.