Dame Kelly Holmes Joins LIBRA in the Battle Against Blood Cancers
Olympic athlete Dame Kelly Holmes has taken up the role of ambassador for The Lions International Blood Research Appeal (LIBRA) as she campaigns to raise awareness of blood cancer after losing her mother to myeloma.
The double gold medal winner teamed up with the charity in September 2018 as she is encouraging people to provide support so that new lifesaving and life improving blood cancer treatments can be created.
LIBRA is the official haematology charity for King’s College Hospital in London (King’s) where ground breaking treatments for myeloma and other gruelling blood cancers are being created.
Dame Kelly has spoken out about her role and said:
I am so pleased to be an official ambassador of LIBRA. I was delighted to be approached by the Trustees and I look forward to helping to raise awareness of the charity and its work for King’s.
Having lost my mother to blood cancer, I understand only too well the importance of having the very best treatments available to patients.I hope I can help inspire people to provide much needed support so that funding is available to help ensure the creation of treatments that will go on to save lives.
Kelly’s mum Pam (Mother Dear as Kelly called her) didn’t really have any reason to think anything was seriously wrong. She had bad pneumonia for a couple of years in a row and had some back pain. Being a sportsperson, Kelly automatically assumed her back pain was muscular, so recommended getting a massage. Pam had also been feeling a little bit tired but put that down to work, as Pam was a nursing assistant.
Pam then was told she had broken some ribs and had assumed it was from her dog pulling too hard on the lead but a consultant she worked with at the hospital suggested they run some blood tests just as a precaution.
The blood tests came back with an abnormality and so they sent Pam for a bone marrow biopsy, which later confirmed she had multiple myeloma.
Kelly’s mum and family were extremely shocked as they had never heard of myeloma, and they were upset to discover unfortunately, myeloma is currently an incurable (terminal) cancer. However, the consultant reassured them that there were plenty of different treatment options.
Treatments for myeloma can be very effective at controlling the disease, reducing symptoms and improving quality of life. Pam stayed positive through her initial chemotherapy cycle and when it relapsed she remained positive as there were still mainly options available and that kept everyone’s hopes high.
Her mother underwent chemotherapy and had a stem cell transplant, which initially made her feel much better, but she died suddenly while in hospital on August 7 last year, aged 64. A year on and Dame Kelly is throwing her support behind LIBRA to help patients like her mother.
LIBRA Chairman Andrew Lodge said: “We invited Dame Kelly to become an ambassador for LIBRA as she is a fantastic role model and she is dedicated to raising awareness of blood cancer. The Trustees and I would like to thank Dame Kelly for taking up the ambassador role and we look forward to working with her.
“With the support of Dame Kelly, we will be able to raise more vital funds for the Haematology Department at King’s, ensuring the best possible diagnostic equipment and treatments are available to patients with myeloma, leukaemia and other blood cancers.”
To help raise funds LIBRA is calling on supporters to don their running shoes and take part in the Brighton Marathon, taking place on 14th April 2019.
Dame Kelly, a former British middle-distance athlete, is behind the campaign to secure charity runners and said: “Registering to run the Brighton Marathon for LIBRA provides the perfect opportunity to get active in the name of an amazing cause.
I encourage individuals, groups, fun runners and regular runners to sign up for the Brighton Marathon. Come on and get involved – together we can make a difference. Together we can help to save lives! I wish everyone who registers for LIBRA the best of luck, enjoy the event – I wish I could be there!”
If you would like to register your interest, please email email@example.com It costs just £50 to secure a place, with a minimum sponsorship level of £400.00.
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