How you can help blood cancer sufferers this month – Alastair Campbell

From: Alastair Campbell, Keighley-born former Downing Street communications director.

Alastair Campbell lost his best friend to leukaemia nearly 30 years ago.

From: Alastair Campbell, Keighley-born former Downing Street communications director.

Next year will mark 30 years since I lost my best friend John Merritt to leukaemia.

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It was a horrible time, not least because his wife Lindsay was pregnant with a daughter, Hope, who would only ever know her father through photos and the recollections of others.

If that wasn’t bad enough, six years after John left us, the daughter he did know, Ellie, died from the same blood cancer. Cruelty beyond belief for Lindsay and Hope.

Blood cancer is a devastating disease and despite the great research advances made in the last few decades, it is still the UK’s third biggest cancer killer.

That’s why I’m a supporter of Blood Cancer UK. For Blood Cancer Awareness Month, I’m urging your readers to do two things.

Firstly, we all need to know the symptoms of blood cancer, as one in 19 of us will develop it at some point in our lives and too many cases are not diagnosed quickly enough. If you don’t know them already, find out about them at

Secondly, please make a donation to help fund more research.

We know that the only way we’re going to beat blood cancer is by discovering better treatments, and so your donation will be one more small step towards the day when everyone with blood cancer survives.

I can close with some good news. Hope has grown up to be a wonderful young woman, has recently begun a new career as a teacher, is engaged to be married, and though her mum has known so much tragedy, she also chose the right name for her daughter.

There is always hope.

And, as I read on a memorial bench while making a TV programme in Yorkshire recently, “life isn’t forever, love is.”

Let’s work together to give those we love the chance to 
live life a little more and a lot longer.

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