Sunday, 14 April 2013

Marathon man

Every hair on your head is counted. You are worth hundreds of sparrows
Hundreds of Sparrows - Sparklehorse

In 1 week's time, my friend Nathan King is running in the London Marathon. I've known Nathan since the day we both started work (18 years ago), and I am very appreciative indeed (flattered, frankly) that he has chosen to use his run to raise money for Myeloma UK.

I love running. It was one of my favourite ways of letting off steam, letting go, switching off, working out, getting air and fighting middle age spread, until myeloma got in the way. Indeed, it was while out running that I broke my back (the none-too-subtle clue that something was seriously wrong). I hope that soon, I will be able to run again. In the mean time... Go Nath!

Myeloma is easily lost in the crowd. Even among blood cancers it is much less well known than leukaemia or lymphoma. Yet while it shares many things in common with those diseases, it is also very different. Myeloma UK is the only organisation in Britain focusing specifically on myeloma. It provides information and support to people affected by myeloma, and works with doctors, researchers and pharmaceutical companies to help improve myeloma treatment.

It's hard to imagine how much worse things were just a few years ago. People diagnosed with myeloma as recently as 20 years ago not only faced all the issues I do, but did so in an environment where the available treatments were not very effective and there was little research going into new ones. They would also have struggled to find any information about the practicalities of living with myeloma. To be blunt, no-one expected them to live with myeloma for very long.

The situation has changed profoundly for the better. Myeloma UK has played an important role in that change.

If you would like to sponsor Nathan here's a link to his fundraising page


  1. Hi Alex, I think our cyber paths have crossed on the myeloma uk forum. I just wanted to say great that your friend is running to raise money for Myeloma UK. And also to say that I ran the Manchester 10k last year, 8 months after my transplant and this year I am planning a triathlon so as you gain strength I am sure you will be up and running again pretty soon

    1. I hope so Wendy. It's my back, more than my stamina, that I am worried about. Until recently any impact - jumping etc - was no good. I'm going to a physio session starting tomorrow, where I'll be able to have a go on a treadmill. I'm really hoping that I'll find I can use it.

      I did quite a bit of damage to my spine, but the real legacy of that (after vertebroplasty) is that I have a lot of muscular issues where I guess my muscles have been compensating for weakness, and attempting to mask pain. So my back is still incredibly tight - and I don't know how it is going to respond as I increase my level of exercise.

      But I can only approach this one step at a time, and see how far I can get. Your achievement inspires me! So thank you. I'd like to aim to run a 10k (not sure about marathons or triathlons... who knows...)