Around 230,000 people in the UK are currently living with a blood cancer, that's enough to fill Wembley Stadium two and a half times over. There are over 100 different types of blood cancer and here in the UK, 106 people are diagnosed with one of these, every, single, day. This makes blood cancer the fifth most common cancer in the UK - a fact I personally know all too well.
When I was seven my dad passed away after a short battle with leukaemia, being so young at the time I didn't really understand what was going on - but what I can remember is a once active and playful man reduced to a mere shell of his former self. I can remember asking why we couldn't play certain games or do certain things anymore, the fact of the matter is that he simply wasn't able to. Partly due to the vile disease that is blood cancer, but also due to the treatment he was receiving. Something I have only recently discovered is that the short-term side effects of current treatments are exceptionally harsh and the long-term side effects range from infertility to psychological problems and an increased risk of developing secondary cancers. I was also shocked to learn that we've been using the same treatments today that we've been using for decades - that's like using a horse for your morning commute - still possible, but times have moved on.
That's where Bloodwise come in! Bloodwise; the UK's leading blood cancer research charity has invested over £50 million into lifesaving research since its formation in 1960. The results of this research have been remarkable, with 8 in 10 children now surviving the most common form of blood cancer, compared to nearly 0 in the 1960's. Bloodwise won't stop until nobody dies from a blood cancer ever again. But the future isn't all they're investing in, they're investing in right now too, working to develop a kinder, less toxic treatment package so that anyone currently affected by blood cancer can lead a fuller, happier life. As well as this ground-breaking research Bloodwise are there for everyone affected by Blood Cancers, either directly or indirectly - providing support, advice and information to all who need it.
This month is Blood Cancer Awareness month - as a Bloodwise ambassador I'll be shouting (even louder) about the desperate need for more vital funding so that no young person ever has to go through what I did again. You can get involved with Blood Cancer Awareness month by using #BloodCancerAwarenessMonth to get involved on social media, spreading the message about Bloodwise and the support it offers, or helping to save lives directly by donating to Bloodwise.
Research has broken the sound barrier. Research has produced plants that can tolerate drought. Research has made space exploration a feasible reality. Research makes the impossible, possible and one day, research will beat blood cancer.
#IAmBloodwise are you?