In 2016, I was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphatic Leukaemia. I had had no side effects, but an anomaly had been picked up on a routine blood test. It was a huge shock, and we weren’t sure whether to tell friends and we decided not to tell our children as they were getting ready for exams.
For the first few years, it was just my wife and I and it was difficult. We lived in limbo, working from one blood test to another. Now I understand why they call it watch and worry; you stop making any long term plans and it’s only after treatment that you really reflect on how it affects you.
Although I began my treatment in February 2020, I was working with my consultant from 2018. My consultant put me forward for the Flair Trial, and I was given extra support from the Clinical Nurses.
I remember sitting in the waiting room on my last treatment, watching patients in worse positions than me arriving. I noticed how the staff had a constant smile on their faces, they were always so positive and I reflected that the staff had their own worries and their own concerns whilst going through the first lockdown, but they never showed it. Their attention was completely focussed on their patients, making them feel reassured, and making them the centre of their attention was their first priority.
It was at this point I realised just how special a place Clatterbridge is and just how incredible the people that work there are. Watching them made my working day worries look very unimportant, and gave me a new perspective on life and work.
The Fairy Appeal is a wonderful way to thank all of the staff that supported me throughout my treatment, but it is also a way of highlighting the importance of the work Clatterbridge does. They save lives every day, and any way I can give a little back to them I will.