A Swanwick woman is backing the UK’s biggest ever blood cancer awareness campaign launched by charity Bloodwise.
Kerry Noble, 25, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia, an aggressive type of blood cancer, in January 2011.
She had been suffering from severely swollen gums for weeks and earlier had visited a GP and dentist who had both diagnosed her with gum disease.
She said: “I had noticed a couple of bruises on my legs but hadn’t thought anything of it because I have a border collie who was always bouncing around me. It hadn’t even crossed my mind that it could be related.
“About a week later I started to feel like I had a virus and went off my food. My gums were still getting worse and bleeding a lot, but I thought that this was the reason why I was struggling to eat. I stayed in bed for days and was sleeping a lot.”
Kerry’s mum insisted that she book a home visit from the GP, who immediately rushed her straight to hospital.
“I was told there was something wrong with my blood and was given a blood transfusion and platelets during the night,” said Kerry.
“Even then I wondered what all the fuss was about but the following morning my consultant waited for my parents to arrive before coming into my hospital room. She sat next to me, holding my hand and I sat in shock as she told me that she thought I had leukaemia.”
After a tough battle, Kerry finished her treatment in June 2011. Kerry said: “Looking back I really should have associated all of my symptoms together but I just thought it was a virus and completely unrelated to the gum disease. I really want to raise awareness of blood cancer and show people that there is still hope. I used to hear lots of stories in the news about people who hadn’t survived, but as a patient it is important to hear about the survivors to find hope that you are not alone.”
Bloodwise has launched its billboard campaign in response to a crisis in awareness of the group of diseases, which includes leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma.
Research undertaken by the charity revealed that for many patients, this lack of awareness adds significantly to the stress, uncertainty and worry that comes with a cancer diagnosis.