David's wife Victoria was diagnosed with a very unusual type of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) in February 2012, here he tells their story.
My beautiful 31 year old wife Victoria was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) in February 2012. This came completely out of the blue as Victoria was a happy, healthy new mum to our baby daughter Rebecca. She had been feeling fatigued for a few weeks and a routine blood test confirmed that her white blood cells were both proliferating and not maturing correctly. Her positivity in the face of this devastating cancer of the bone marrow was amazing. Even when she was in severe pain, she kept us all going; she believed that the following day would be a better one. The clinicians treating her tried everything, but sadly after four rounds of intensive induction chemotherapy, Victoria passed away on the 20 of November 2012. None of the treatments provided were able to control the disease and she never achieved any form of disease remission. This meant that a potentially curative bone marrow transplant never became as option. She remained positive through all the setbacks, hoping that the next phase of treatment would be the one to put her life back on track.
Victoria was the most wonderful wife and mother; her family meant everything to her. She was a respected solicitor and an accomplished singer with a love for music and languages. My life will never be the same without her, I am still trying to come to terms with what has happened; however, I know that so much needs to be done to help others like her. This disease can strike at any time of life; in fact there are only a small number of known risk factors that make an individual more susceptible to developing the disease. None of these applied to Victoria.
In 2013 I ran the Belfast City Marathon. This was a monumental challenge, as I had done no exercise in well over one year since Victoria was diagnosed. I ran in memory of Victoria and hoped to raise much needed money for Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI. This year Gavin (aka Dr. Dance, President of Eire Designs, one of the worlds leading Irish dance teachers, and a great friend) and I will be participating in the Maratona di Roma.
Although advances have been made in the last few decades, there is still so much that we do not fully understand about AML. Many people are successfully treated, achieving a long term stable remission; however, there are still many whose disease is unresponsive to the available treatments. Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI require donations to further develop new treatments to combat this cruel disease. We now know that there are approximately seventy different disease subtypes, and only a handful of treatment options. Only a small number of disease subtypes have targeted treatments available.
Please, please, dig deep to support this amazing cause. We need to actively support further research into AML and other blood and bone marrow cancers. Remember to give blood or platelets if you are medically able. All AML patients require regular transfusions to support them during their treatment.
To support David's fundraising you can donate via his justgiving page.