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Myeloma patient helps raise awareness in bespoke art installation

September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month, and throughout the month we are raising awareness of myeloma, and its signs and symptoms by sharing patient stories.

Fundraising news, Myeloma UK news, Patient advocacy news, Patient stories // 14th September 2017

September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month, and throughout the month we are raising awareness of myeloma, and its signs and symptoms by sharing patient stories.

To kick the month off Myeloma UK and eight other blood cancer charities got behind the Make Blood Cancer Visible campaign, which aims to raise awareness of blood cancers.

The campaign launched with an installation in London’s Paternoster Square that features 104 three dimensional letterform sculptures representing the number of people diagnosed with a blood cancer every day in the UK. Some myeloma patients took part in the installation and have had bespoke sculptures created to raise awareness of their experience of living with myeloma. The installation will be on display until 30 September 2017.

Henry McKenzie, 58 from Corby, is one of 14 myeloma patients to feature in the campaign. He was diagnosed with myeloma in August 2011, “I was referred to the Haematology clinic by my GP. My only symptom was fatigue.

“I started my first lot of treatment two weeks after my diagnosis, achieving remission in the September. After my first stem cell transplant in March 2012, I was able to return to full-time work in June 2012. I didn’t relapse until about three years later and started another cycle of treatments in July 2016. This was followed by a second stem cell transplant in late January 2017. I was hospitalised for six weeks at this time as I developed sepsis and had very poor engraftment. I am now back in remission.”

Despite his diagnosis, Henry has tried to maintain as normal a life as possible, “I have worked throughout my treatments but I do suffer from fatigue and peripheral neuropathy constantly. I live with myeloma as a constant companion but not an enemy.”

Henry found the installation very inspirational and wanted to take part to help raise awareness of blood cancer, “Given the exposure to the general public and social media, I am sure it will. I want people to understand that myeloma is currently incurable and that the symptoms associated with myeloma are varied.”

I want people to understand that myeloma is currently incurable and that the symptoms associated with myeloma are varied.

Henry McKenzie

The full installation will be in Paternoster Square until 30 September, where you can learn more about patients and their experiences of living with blood cancers.

Myeloma is the second most common type of blood cancer and represents 2% of all cancers in the UK. To help increase awareness of symptoms amongst GPs and healthcare professionals with our Myeloma Diagnosis Pathway, e-mail your name and address to awareness@myeloma.org.uk.

See more case studies from installation participants: Anne Fleming