Me and myeloma: Chris’s story

Our ‘Me and myeloma’ stories are a series of stories from the myeloma community.

I’m 36, spend my working time advising sports organisations on a myriad of commercial matters and spend my spare time with friends and family, who all mean a lot to me. Having spent 10+ years up in Manchester with my job, one silver lining from the pandemic was the ability to work remotely, so I’ve relocated back near Oxford to where I grew up. My partner and her two children live nearby, so they are my main ‘hobby’, as is my niece (sorry to all, but she is officially the cutest baby). Aside from that, I enjoy exercise, reading, cooking, Spanish, and have – thanks to my partner’s influence – become a ‘fan’ of wild swimming.

What is your connection to myeloma?

My first awareness of Myeloma UK came some 19 years ago when my father was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. He managed to defy doctors’ prognoses for four years (stubborn until the end), but unfortunately passed away in 2007.

What helps you get the support you need as a family member or carer?

I remember at the time of my dad’s death, feeling quite lost, unsure how to process something so monumental, yet also wanting to continue my life in the way he would have wanted. Myeloma UK provided support and guidance to my parents that I’ve since wanted to repay.

My first opportunity to do so came a few year’s later, in 2011. Not being one to do things easily, I chose to fundraise by cycling from John O’Groats to Lands End. Since then I’ve been lucky enough to run two marathons, the Great North Run, and raced against horses (yes, you read that correctly!) to raise additional funds. My friends and family are also regular recipients of Myeloma UK Christmas cards, a tradition I am determined to continue!

Alongside these events, I’ve been proud to have volunteered across the country at several Myeloma UK Infodays over the years. Two things stand out from those in-person events; the hard work that all the Myeloma UK staff put into running them, and the smiles and friendly chats with so many of the attendees. I attended the London Infoday in November 2022 and loved seeing the myeloma community in person again.

Since June 2022, I have helped to coordinate the Myeloma UK Friends and Family support group.

My hope is that these online meetings can provide a space for friends and family to share their experiences, discuss challenges they may be facing and to provide a safe and welcoming environment to process things.

What message or advice would you give to someone whose loved one has myeloma?

Two things spring to mind:

It’s ok to be selfish sometimes. Whilst that word often comes with negative connotations, one regret I have of my father’s experience was not being there to give my mother a break.

It’s completely understandable when a loved one is suffering to devote yourself to their aid, but making sure that you make time for yourself and to process things is so, so important. The question I often have in my mind is: who cares for the carer?

Secondly, and a saying that is particularly close to my heart (and tattooed on my arm), one step at a time.

Close-up photograph of a hand holding a mobile phone.

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