Candid With Cancer #8 – My Second Cancer Diagnosis
Thomas Ashley details his battle against AML as part of a new weekly blog
Hugh and his wife Diana, 74, will join over 150 cyclists tackling the 478km (300 miles) challenge from London to Paris in four days (8th-12th June) to raise funds for Cure Leukaemia’s Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP) Network.
Hugh was first diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL) in 2017 where he was diagnosed with Stage 1 CLL, before the cancer progressed to Stage 2 in March 2022 – which he has been receiving treatment for ever since.
Hugh first realised that something might be wrong when he returned from a walking holiday and he had a reddening of his legs which he initially thought was from his walking boots. He described his symptoms to his local GP during a routine blood test, after which, he was referred to Nottingham City Hospital for further tests. Hugh was given an early diagnosis of Stage 1 CLL, which didn’t require treatment at the time before the leukaemia moved to Stage 2 last year.
“I found it quite hard to believe at the time, because I just felt normal. I knew it was likely to progress to Stage 2 at some point, but I was also aware that treatment options had progressed a lot – even in the short space of time since my Stage 1 diagnosis – with treatment moving away from chemotherapy to more targeted treatments which are easier to cope with.”
As part of Hugh’s treatment, he will still be required to take oral medication twice a day throughout the cycle, but being a keen cyclist himself, he knows the challenge that awaits him and Diana.
“I am sure it will be a great experience for us both. The sight of Paris and cycling up to the Eiffel Tower as part of a team will be tremendous and a great feeling.”
“I am a regular cyclist and have been for many years. Since retiring 16 years ago, I use my bike most days. I regard keeping up cycling as very important for my physical health and that is all part of managing my treatment in addition to my medication.”
“It is not only a tremendous challenge, but a great opportunity. Both my wife and I are taking part and we are very keen to prepare for it and raise funds for a very worthy cause – leukaemia research”
“It is vitally important that we continue to fund leukaemia treatment and clinical trials. I have benefitted from previous funding of leukaemia research so I have a very strong interest in helping to drive that further”
Money raised will be invested in the national Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP) which has been solely funded by Cure Leukaemia – the UK Charity partner of the Tour de France since January 2020. TAP is a network of specialist research nurses at 12 blood cancer centres located in the UK’s biggest cities and a facilitatory hub based at the Centre for Clinical Haematology in Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
This network enables accelerated setup and delivery of potentially life-saving blood cancer clinical trials to run, giving patients from a UK catchment area of over 20 million people access to treatments not currently available through standard care.