It is hard to find better words to describe MDS. Read Kathleen's moving story on why she's running the Great North Run, and why she has chosen to fundraise for MDS UK Patient Support Group on her Virgin Money Giving Page:
"Imagine feeling unwell, short of breath, and lacking in life over a number of weeks until a precautionary blood test finds you severely anaemic and you are admitted to hospital as an emergency. You don't understand the seriousness of your condition although you have 11 units of blood over as many days, until you are referred to the haematologist(blood consultant) who says that parts of your bone marrow have stopped working, that the cells that are being made are bad, and that although some treatment may be possible, there is no guarantee because you are at ‘high risk’ and the future is very poor. You and your family struggle to understand not only the diagnosis of MDS - Myelodysplastic Syndrome, but also the present and the future and it is very scary.
This happened to my youngest sister, Caroline, last year and to say it was a shock is putting it mildly. After years of ill health and only more recently beginning to get out and enjoy life for once, MDS shattered any hopes of happy fulfilled years that had been long coming. The medical teams were wonderful, but it was really difficult to feel any hope or be positive whilst thinking the worst.
That is where MDS UK really helps sufferers and their families. Contact details were given by the hospital and from that point Caroline had access to a range of clear information, local and national contacts, and patient groups that helped her to really understand the situation and the hope and positives that could still be seen in her life. Please see the MDS patient support website for more information about their valuable work.
Caroline is still pursuing treatment options and we hope for more happy times for her, but even though tough treatment may not change the future for her, it does make it more bearable knowing that you have knowledge and understanding close at hand.
So, I'm asking your support for MDS UK, the charity that informs, connects and supports MDS sufferers and their families. It is a blood disorder that can be quite bewildering, shocking in its severity and not well understood. Your donation will help to make sure that information, contact and support is readily available to the next sufferer and their family. Those may seem small asks, but they make a huge difference in being able to face the future, whatever it may be, with hope and courage.
So, whilst I wasn’t going to do the GNR this year, I will now do it for my sister on behalf of MDS UK. I hope that she can be with me for the event and whilst every day is a miracle, I'll do my bit and I'm hoping you will do yours. If you and a lot of people donate a little it will add up to a lot, and if you pay tax please do tick the Gift Aid box so that the tax you have already paid on your donation can be reclaimed from the taxman, for free! How good is that?"
We are immensely grateful to Kathleen for her empathy and commitment, and to her friends and family for your generosity which will make a great difference to patients. Let's help Kathleen attain her fundraising target of £300!
Taking place on on Sunday 8 September 2019, the Great North Run is the largest half marathon in the world, taking place annually in North East England each September.
And we have an amazing team running for MDS UK Patient Support Group: