I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in December 2015. Myeloma is an incurable blood cancer. My life had been turned upside-down by a few words spoken by a consultant. The lives of my wife, Lauren, and children Alfie and Ella aged nine and seven, were turned upside-down. We entered a new, unknown and scary world.
I believe that my experiences can be useful to others also entering this unnown and scary world. I am currently on my 5th line of treatment and have started to my own blog (www.myelomadad.com) to provide information and education for those with Myeloma and their carers, families and friends.
The money I aim to raise through this campaign is to utilise the skills I developed in my career in education to provide further opportunities for people to learn about Myeloma from someone with the disease.
The money will be used in these ways:
- To provide funding for me to travel to destinations to provide talks. My talks aim to provide information to Myeloma patients and their loved ones about living with Myeloma and it's treatments in a forum setting.
- As an experienced public speaker I am keen to raise awareness about not just Myeloma but cancers in general through my talks. Being diagnosed with Myeloma hit me like a brick wall. I never connected that some of the symptoms I was experiencing were related to cancer. I just assumed it was all part of a mid-life 'thing' as I hit 40. As a result I have an aggressive form of the disease. If my talks can influence just one person to have a check-up if they have the symptoms I was experiencing, and, as a result if they are diagnosed at an early stage of disease then I would consider this a success. As we know early detection is so important to life expectancy.
- Most children will have a relative or adult they know with cancer, that's a sad fact and children need support in processing this. There are limited resources for them. The aim is to provide educational talks and lessons for school children. I have experience in curriculum design and I believe there is the opportunity to raise children's awareness about cancer through my experiences of living with Myeloma and the impact this has had on family life. If one student recognises the symptoms in an adult they love and this leads to early detection then it would be a success.
- To provide funding to develop marketing materials (business cards, leaflets) to promote my free service