My background has always been medical – firstly as a nurse in the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, followed by Pharmaceutical Sales with Servier Laboratories and then Pharmaceutical Research in London.

I had a career break during which time I married and had 3 children whilst living in England for 12 years, before moving to Berlin for 4 years which was a wonderful experience.

On returning to Northern Ireland, in 1998, I worked as a Staff Nurse in an Elective Surgical Unit, during which time I was also involved in an Ophthalmology Waiting List Initiative to reduce waiting times.

Karen Bruce

Following this I took up my current post as a Ward Sister in a Surgical Unit in a Private Hospital. I have been unable to work in the unit, initially due to my illness, but more recently, due to Covid.

I am also a qualified Yoga Teacher.

My introduction to MDS was in 2009 when my Father was diagnosed with MDS/MPN and then sadly passed away on 2010. There was very little information about MDS available at this time and this made it difficult for us all.

I, myself, was diagnosed with Familial HR-MDS, aged 57, in May 2018 which then transformed to AML the following year. I subsequently underwent a Stem Cell Transplant in November 2019. I am currently on Azacitidine and awaiting a second Transplant.

I have been a member of MDS UK since 2018 but have only become more involved this year and now realise how much amazing work is undertaken on behalf of MDS/ CMML  patients – from research and development to supporting patients to Zoom meetings and Clinical Trials  to name but a few!

I would like to be able to support other patients going through similar experiences and to ensure as much information is made available to patients and carers to help them better understand MDS and their treatment options and to develop support groups along the way.

Finally and most importantly, I am a daughter, sister, Mum & Nana to Rebecca, Jack, Charlotte and Lucy and my dream is to be with them all for a very long time.

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