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We are thoroughly grateful to Alex, who raised the incredible sum of £1755 (Total plus Gift Aid: £2,011.75) at the Great North Run.
Every runner has a story. Alex told his father's journey of MDS in his Virgin Money Giving Page:
"I have chosen to raise money forMDS UK Patient Support Group as they are a charity that have helped my family a lot in the last year. This charity was born in 2008 to raise awareness of MDS, offer support and information to patients and families and campaign to increase the quality of life and make treatments available to those affected by Myelodysplastic Syndromes.
For those of you unaware in the Autumn of 2018 my dad was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome also known as blood cancer or bone marrow failure. This was a shock to our whole family as we became aware of the dire prognosis and limited options available. My dad immediately started undergoing regular blood transfusions to allow him to continue with his daily life, however these would only continue to work for a short period of time and therefore a bone marrow transplant was necessary.
They doctors started to search the donor register for a match which would give my dad the best chance of survival. Out of over 7million people on the register no match was found. The only option available to him was for a half match and for me or my sister to be his donor. As the youngest and male child, I was the preferred donor and agreed to go through with the procedure.
In February this year the day came to complete the donation. It was simple procedure involving having my stem cells filtered out of my blood over 5 hours. After giving away 12 million of my precious stem cells my job was done and the next day it was time for what is known as my dads new "birthday".
The following day after chemo and radiotherapy to wipe out my dad’s faulty immune system, he was ready to receive his/my new one. The procedure to infuse the cells was over in less then half an hour but this was only the start of a long journey ahead to ensure the procedure worked by battling rejection and transplant related life threatening diseases.
Its now 5 months since the procedure and my dad is back at home continuing his road to recovery. Despite the constant juggling of countless drugs, the signs so far seem positive as his white and red blood cells continue to rise as the weeks continue to pass. There is still a long way to go for him but it seems things are going in the right direction.
Whilst so far my dads story has been positive, there are many people out there who may not be able to undergo the rigours of transplant and remain on supportive care for a long time. Like with my dad, MDS Patient Support are a great charity who will support patients and their families through all the ups and downs this little known cancer can throw at them, whilst pushing for research to provide more options to those for whom a cure is not possible.
On the 8th September this year I will be running the Great North Run for MDS Patient and Support Group. This is a race I have been meaning to do for a while as it is in the place where my mum grew up and the Geordies are great race supporters. Those of you that know me will realise that this may not be the biggest challenge for me as I am a regular runner. However the point here is to try and raise some money and gain publicity for a great charity so they can continue to help and support more people in the future.
Whatever you can afford to give will be greatly appreciated however small or big, and may I also ask you to share this page throughout your social media so it can reach a larger audience. Thank you!"
We are immensely grateful to Alex for his support and to his friends and family for your generosity which are already making a great difference to patients.
Thanks to people like Alex and his friends and sponsors we are able to support MDS patients and their loved ones at those critical moments when anxiety strikes.
We provide a 1-2-1 helpline opened 5 days a week, organise local meetings and maintain an updated website and Facebook Group, among other activities. Thanks for making this possible!
Alex and his dad
Taking place on Sunday 8 September 2019, the Great North Run is the largest half marathon in the world.
And we had an amazing team running for MDS UK Patient Support Group: