Candid With Cancer #8 – My Second Cancer Diagnosis
Thomas Ashley details his battle against AML as part of a new weekly blog
The indefatigable leukaemia patient Mark Nicholas will once again be keeping it in the family as he gets ‘on his bike’ for a double challenge to support Cure Leukaemia.
Mark, a freelance IT consultant from Kenilworth, has previously completed both Velo Birmingham in 2017 and London 2 Paris (L2P) last year for the charity, and is now preparing for a repeat performance – in both!
The 48-year-old rugby enthusiast was just weeks away from undergoing a stem cell transplant as part of his treatment when taking part in the last Velo, and son Finn – then 16 – accompanied him on the ride.
This time around Mark is once again planning to be back in the saddle for the Velo Birmingham & Midlands on May 12th, and will then be joined by sister Dominique and 16-year-old daughter Evie for L2P, which takes place from September 12-15.
“Last time I did the Velo I was feeling fit and in good health,” recalls Mark, who was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia in 2016.
“I was under the guidance of (Cure Leukaemia co-founder) Professor Charlie Craddock CBE, and he and my consultant thought that the treatment I was receiving wasn’t quite working and we had a donor ready and waiting for the stem cell transplant.
“That was good news really, so I felt quite relaxed going into Velo.
“It was great to have Finn joining me last time out – although I’m not sure he has got on a bike since! – and I’m really looking forward to another fantastic day.
“Then it will all be about London to Paris, and I am delighted that Evie has agreed to join in this year.
“We’ve just bought her the bike, and as long as she doesn’t turn into a stroppy teenager we’ll be good to go!
“In all seriousness she is very keen and it will be a nice experience for both of us and I am delighted she has decided to support me in this way.
“The same goes for my sister Dominique, who lives and works in Milan, but is training hard over there ready come and join Evie and myself for L2P.
“My wife Louise is also very supportive and will be there at Velo once again cheering me on!”
A group of close friends have also been with Mark every step of the way on his journey through his treatment and into remission, and the team christened ‘Marco’s Tour De Cure’ also took on the 2017 Velo and London to Paris last year.
Mark with his ‘Marco’s Tour de Cure’ team during London 2 Paris
Many of the team are expected to be back in the saddle again for these two events, having raised a fantastic £22,000 from their participation in L2P, and landing the Cure Leukaemia’s Team of the Year award for 2018.
“I would encourage anyone who is interested to consider taking part in Velo or L2P,” added Mark.
“Velo is a great day with such a fantastic atmosphere and so many people out there supporting you.
“I love the team, I love the charity and I love the experience, and it is a fantastic way of raising money that will genuinely save lives just as they did with me.”