Candid With Cancer #8 – My Second Cancer Diagnosis
Thomas Ashley details his battle against AML as part of a new weekly blog
Nineteen years after Geoff was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia and given just 3 months to live, he will once again lead a team of 19 amateur cyclists as they take part in The Tour 21 from Saturday June 24th to Sunday July 17th. By cycling all 21 stages of one of the toughest endurance events on earth, the team aim to raise more than the £1.1million they did last year for national blood cancer charity Cure Leukaemia, the official charity partner of the Tour de France in the UK.
Speaking upon receiving his MBE, Geoff, 56, said:
“I am immensely proud and humbled to have been awarded an MBE and my thoughts immediately turned to all of the people that have helped me get here over the years.”
Geoff’s attention now turns to his bike as he looks to raise the stakes and has vowed to continue putting his body through pain as people across the UK continue to die through this awful disease.
“We’re on the verge of something big with what this money can help achieve so we need to always be aiming to raise more. With further donations and fundraising efforts we can help fund more trials which, in turn, will help save the lives of many more people.
If these trials were around sooner, so many more people could have been saved.
I take great inspiration and aspire to emulate the great Kevin Sinfield, who has raised such a significant amount of money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA) and continues to do so.”
“We have hit our target in previous years, but it is not enough! Blood cancer is still here. Every 14 minutes, someone is still being diagnosed with blood cancer. It is time that we stepped up our efforts. We are making huge strides in our trials network and every penny will directly benefit the 38,000 people who are diagnosed with a form of blood cancer in the UK each year.
“I want to be able to hang up my cleats and not have to put myself through the pain and agony of the Tour again, but until that time comes, we will keep going!”
The thought behind lifting the bar to more than previous years is due to the fact that what’s been raised to date, “just isn’t enough”, according to blood cancer survivor Geoff, a survivor himself thanks to the work of clinical trials.
“Why look to raise £1million when we can strive to raise £5million? Last year we raised over £1million in a Covid-affected year so it shows what is possible if we work together.”