Written in 2013

This is Tony de Grey’s story. Tony sadly lost his long, brave battle with leukaemia on Friday 5th April 2013. His legacy will continue, as he wanted. Tony de Grey was 53, married, a father to 3 children and lived in Birmingham.

Following a dentist appointment to have a tooth removed, big Birmingham City fan Tony was suffering from severe pain and in an attempt to gain some relief took a large dose of pain killers. Tony, an ex-naval serviceman, described the pain as unimaginable. He then collapsed and was still lying on the floor when his wife, Diane, returned from work.

Diane, Tony’s wife of 23 years, was understandably worried that Tony may have overdosed on pain relief and took him to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. Doctors at the hospital very quickly were able to control the pain and, as a matter of course, because of the pain relief Tony had taken, completed routine blood tests.

The results showed that Tony was suffering from Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML). Tony was advised by the medical team that he was just days away from death.

Tony’s treatment for AML started immediately. Tony explained that he went through a rollercoaster of emotions. His first thought was ‘OK, I can deal with this’ but once the realisation that AML was a form blood cancer had set in, his next thought was how he would tell his wife and family.

Tony had been through the rigours of cancer treatment and was then offered Stem Cell Transplantation. For this to take place, Tony needed a bone marrow match from a sibling as this was his best chance of success.

Finding a match from a sibling was not a concern for Tony as he was one of six children and thought his chances were good. However, as each sibling was crossed off the list the final hope came with his sister who was living in Devon. She was a perfect match and the transplant took place.

Tony’s route to this treatment was supported by Cure Leukaemia funded nurses and for that reason, he was determined to help the charity raise vital funds. He shared audio diaries throughout his treatment with BBC WM 95.6 FM listeners as part of the Red Alert Appeal. Combined with regular Twitter updates, Tony soon had thousands of people following his progress throughout the Midlands. The Appeal raised over £178,000 for Cure Leukaemia and Tony played a massive part in that fundraising.

After his transplant, Tony was told he has gone into remission but sadly in November 2012 he relapsed. Tony kept fighting right until the end and fought to make sure he was there to celebrate his mother’s 80th birthday in February 2013 and in March to attend the cheque presentation for the Red Alert at the Centre for Clinical Haematology.

On April 5th 2013, Tony sadly lost his battle with blood cancer but his legacy lives on as a driving force for the whole #CLFamily.