'In search of stories'

Phil Upton

The monthly mutterings of cyclist, broadcaster and Cure Leukaemia trustee Phil Upton.

About a month ago, I was asked by the hard working bods in the Cure Leukaemia office to contribute a regular blog item for the website.

Fine, I thought, not a problem.

So much is going on this year with our amazing fundraisers' hosting or participating in charity runs, walks, bike rides and football matches, it really isn't going to be that onerous.

I'm not going to struggle to write about our new supportive trustees and corporate partners, barely another week goes by without another announcement via the Cure Leukaemia Facebook or Twitter feeds about another influential individual, or prominent city person adding their name or company to those wanting to find that ultimate of prizes – The Cure.

Right now I'm sat in bed with my laptop open, Newsnight is on the telly (well, actually it was a Harry Potter movie, but I want to sound considered and intelligent - although Jeremy Paxman going mano-mano with Lord Voldemort would be a good watch).

I've given long consideration to what sort of writing, message, tone and effect I'd like this blog to have. I thought of a mix of rambling, witty musings with some hard-hitting medical news mixed in. A sort of Stephen Fry meets Dr. Robert Winstone piece that'll have those in need of a morale boost whilst in training for the Half Marathon chuckling whilst also making Prof. Charlie Craddock sit at his desk in the Haematology Unit at the QE nod sagely and think how he must invite me to his next symposium.

'I know - I could write about my activities' I thought.

I could tell people about my charity bike rides, what I'm in training for. I could reveal just what was yummy-brummie celeb-chef Glynn Purnell was really like back stage before the CL 10th Anniversary dinner last year at the Holte Suite - after the die-hard bluenose had been presented with a Villa shirt.


His face was a picture.

So, right now you could easily be reading a sort of an 'insiders view’ of the Cure Leukaemia event year.

Better still, it could be a call-to-action.

I could get you to click-on the Events Calendar and commit to run, walk, ride in one of our events later this year.

Maybe, get you to persuade your company to enrol in the monthly giving scheme and get all your staff to give £2 a month or some such – amazing by the way how much that adds up.

Our CEO, James McLaughlin was showing me some figures last month which showed how easy it would be to get exactly what Charlie Craddock needs to extend drug trials in the West Midlands if we can just get a handful of companies to sign up to that – I was glazing over I admit, that only usually happens when Charlie starts-in on the genome data, but there were spreadsheets and pie charts and as I've already established I'm more Harry Potter than Newsnight.

No, that wasn't going to be it either.

What can I do each month that you can't really get anywhere else on the Cure Leukaemia website or social media postings?

What is it that I can really add that might hold your attention for more than a few stations on your train ride home, or the time it takes for the commercial break to play out on the telly (there I go – blown the Newsnight cover again).

Typing as I am now, it's only just come to me. I'll tell people's stories.

It's effectively what I do on the radio every day.

I tell listeners, how one person feels aggrieved by a local council, or how one company has triumphed through the economic adversity, or even better cajole an interviewee to expose that which they'd never expected to reveal. That's what I can do, that's what I can add.

So, I'm off. In search of stories. Stories of bravery. From patients to fundraisers.

Triumphs of those beating the medical odds to those pushing beyond their previously expected physical capabilities.

The story of how Birmingham can lead the country, if not the world in the field of life science.

The story of the search to Cure Leukaemia.

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"By backing Cure Leukaemia you will be making a direct impact; helping hundreds of thousands of people live a better life and avoid unnecessary suffering and death."

George Freeman MP
"By backing Cure Leukaemia you will be making a direct impact; helping hundreds of thousands of people live a better life and avoid unnecessary suffering and death."

George Freeman MP