We are continuing to profile a number of our riders taking part in 'London 2 Paris: Inspiring the Revolution' this June and today it’s the turn of John Riley, who has kindly shared his story with us...
This June I’ll be taking part in London 2 Paris: Inspiring the Revolution and raising money for Cure Leukaemia as like many others I have a close connection to the life-saving work they are doing. Without Cure Leukaemia and the work of Professor Charlie Craddock and his team in Birmingham, I would be very surprised if my wife Deborah would be alive today.
Deborah was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia in 2006 when she visited Dr O'Connor in our local hospital in Shrewsbury. Dr O'Connor was brilliant and quickly referred Deborah to Professor Craddock at the QE, Birmingham.
I will never forget our first meeting in the old hospital.
We were full of trepidation as to what the meeting would bring and what the outcome would be. However, Professor Craddock was upbeat and optimistic, he spent a lot of time with us explaining what the disease was and what the following treatment would be.
He explained that there were relatively new drugs available and how they work to stifle the cancerous cells and he soon started Deborah on them.
We travelled to Birmingham monthly and I was bowled over by the dedication and expertise of the staff at the Hospital. Deborah was so grateful that the drugs controlled the disease and she began to lead a very normal life.
This went on until 2009 and Professor Craddock began the process of looking for bone marrow matches, her siblings were tested and were not a match…despite the best efforts, no match was found.
In the summer of 2009 Professor Craddock said he was looking to find a match using umbilical cords. This was a new procedure and one he took the time to fully explain, both the process and the risks, and then in October 2009 Deborah underwent her transplant.
It has been a tough road to recovery but thankfully, it has been successful. Our debt of gratitude to all the staff in the transplant unit and at the clinic cannot be understated.
Deborah is back at work on a part time basis and she has helped raise approximately £10k for charity by organising charity balls and other events with her friends in Shrewsbury.
I now feel it is my turn to do my bit and raise money for a charity that makes such a difference for so many people who have blood cancers.
I have been so impressed with the dedication, expertise and selflessness of all of the staff we have met since our first visit to Birmingham and the ride from London to Paris will be worth all of the pain if it means the ground-breaking work can be continued by Professor Craddock and his amazing team.
I’m delighted to have the opportunity to take part in this truly unique event and I would urge anyone, if they haven’t done so already to sign up to join myself and 300 others on London 2 Paris: Inspiring the Revolution.
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