The wonders of research

Andy Donaldson

03th October 2016

Leuka supporter Andy Donaldson shares with us why his Chronic Myeloid Leukameia diagnosis hasn’t stopped him from leading a fairly normal life.

“I was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML) in September 2015, I was 24 and faced being told I had cancer. Yeah, you’re probably thinking the same thing I did back then, words we can’t use for this blog. At the time my spleen had tripled in size and apparently my white blood count was 40 times the normal amount. I was exhausted all the time and I guess I knew something was up since I was walking around looking like a pregnant man (thanks spleen). I had avoided getting a blood test, as advised by my doctor, for a long while and in the end, I bit the bullet and took that dreaded thing. Heads up to anyone in a similar position, just do it. They don’t hurt and in the end, they’re done to help you and ensure your health. Don’t be like me and put it off.

So, being a forward thinking person, I asked straight away what can be done to help my chances of survival. I was shocked to find out that this cancer was completely treatable; a wonder drug called Imatinib allows CML sufferers a fairly normal life. As I sat there, in that consultation room being told that my life was going to change forever, I had no clue that such a horrible thing like leukaemia could end up being not so horrible. After my dreaded bone marrow biopsy, that confirmed I had CML, they started me on Imatinib. There have been some good and bad times on it but thanks to this drug, other similar drugs have been synthesised, all based on the research that created Imatinib.

I started researching into this drug and through my research found this wonderful tablet was achievable through some super-human efforts from some incredible people and organisations such as Leuka. It was then I decided that I wanted to do my duty, having access to such a life-changing drug and give back to those who helped me. In this case, I chose Leuka. There are multiple reasons why but my main decision was to the amount of beneficial support they gave the man, Dr Brian Druker, who helped progress Imatinib as medication for CML. Leuka’s founding chairman, Professor John Goldman was also a big part of Dr Druker’s research. If it wasn’t for people like Dr Drucker and Professor Goldman, I’d be in a much worse position right now. It’s thanks to wonderful organisations like Leuka that help those, like myself, lead a normal and most importantly, happy life.”

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