As a young person living with an MPN I hope that my story will provide comfort to other young people with MPNs to know that they are not alone and there is support out there for them.
MPN Voice is very close to my heart as I was diagnosed with Essential Thrombocythemia in September 2021. Then in 2022, I celebrated my 21st birthday and my University graduation but, even with everything going on, I wanted to show my support for the charity, which does so much to support people like me, which is why I decided to fundraise and run a half marathon.
My fundraising journey has been a challenge but therapeutic too as I have learnt that I am not alone on my journey with ET and I am far more resilient than I give myself credit for. When I first got diagnosed, I didn’t know how to accept it and I tried to push my diagnosis to the back of my mind, using unhealthy coping mechanisms. Hearing the word ‘cancer’ at the age of 20 was devastating. However, my run encouraged me to share my story and challenging myself to undergo the physical training helped me to slowly accept that ET is a part of my story.
How did the run go?
An ankle injury forced me to change my plan to run Leeds Half in May but my brother, Daniel, still ran Leeds in support of the fundraiser and absolutely smashed it! After watching Daniel run, I was determined to get involved and signed up for the Manchester Half Marathon in October 2022. The run went far better than I had anticipated until kilometre 18, but the crowd and the occasion really spurred me on to the finish line, dipping just below the two hour mark!
Did fundraising funds make it easier to reach the finish line?
Absolutely without a doubt. Anytime I didn’t feel like training or needed motivation to keep going after my ankle injury, I remembered the huge amount of support behind me for MPN Voice.
My fundraising felt surreal as I smashed my initial £500 target and hit more than £5500. It was truly emotional as I began to realise the difference that these funds would make to people and their families with MPNs.
How did you go about asking people to support you?
I started off by asking my close friends and family to support the cause as they already knew about my diagnosis and my motivation for raising awareness for MPN Voice. Then they started to share with people they knew. Eventually, I worked up the courage to share my story on social media via Instagram, Facebook and some local newspapers. In April this year, my local community organised a charity variety concert for MPN Voice, raising just under £5000. The support has been phenomenal and I am so grateful for the generosity and kindness of my local community.
What difference do you hope your funds will make to the charity’s work?
I hope that the funds I raised will continue to support people with MPNs and their families through the accurate information they provide. MPN Voice provides this information in lots of different ways through in-patient forums, patient vlogs and leaflets. When I first got diagnosed, I was looking up lots of scary things on Google, but the leaflet from MPN Voice I received provided great comfort. I hope that the funds will help MPN Voice to create and build a MPN community and advocate for those affected.
Would you encourage others to get their running shoes on for charity?
I would highly encourage it. You are doing something fantastic for MPN Voice, helping to raise awareness and contributing to their valuable work. Their accurate information about MPNs has helped myself and countless others more than I can say.