I’m the latest recruit to the MDS UK team, and a previous recipient of the incredible support provided by the charity - my husband Neil was diagnosed with MDS just before the first lockdown in February 2020.
I was born in Coventry but grew up in the North-East (with the accent to prove it!) and have lived on the north-Kent coast since the late 1980s, after moving south for a post at the University of Kent. After nearly four decades as a business manager and company director, mostly in the bookselling and artisan food sectors, including several years managing a national charity, I rashly embarked on a writing degree (mostly completed during Covid-19!).
Our daughter Claire, a teacher and educational specialist, lives nearby. I read a lot, try to write every day, and sing in a local chamber choir. I also get to walk along the beach most days, but as we sadly said goodbye to our fifteen-year-old golden retriever Jasper recently I need to get re-motivated!
Strangely for such a rare disease, my mum had also been diagnosed with low-risk MDS a few years before Neil, but his was considerably more complex and aggressive. Tragically, we lost them both on the same day in August 2021. Raising awareness of MDS, promoting stem cell donation and optimising the care and support of those affected by blood cancers, are causes very close to the hearts of my family and friends.
You can read more of our story at https://mdspatientsupport.org.uk/mds-stories/mds-awareness-day-2021-our-story-by-debbie-hickman/