Brothers Paul (43) and Tony (45) Greer, who were diagnosed with the same blood disorder 18 months apart, are getting set to embark on a 5000 mile return journey to the Arctic Circle to raise money for Anthony Nolan and Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.
The brothers have both been diagnosed with the myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a type of blood disorder which is also the same condition they lost their father to 20 years ago.
Tony was diagnosed in 1995 when a routine blood test indicated a lower than normal haemoglobin level. In 2005, he had pneumonia which seemed to trigger the ‘dormant’ MDS and as a result underwent a number of blood transfusions and treatment for side effects to one of the drugs he was taking, for the next three or four years.
His brother Paul was diagnosed in more unusual circumstances. After suffering with hiccups for a week he visited his doctor who suggested a blood test which revealed his diagnosis. Paul and Tony’s condition is carefully monitored in a process called ‘watch and wait’ where they are given regular check-ups to look for any progress in their illness.
They set off on their ‘Arctic Blast’ adventure on Sunday 1 March, and if the challenge of driving in snow and ice wasn't enough, the brothers set themselves a budget of under £1,000 to buy a car for the trip. They will attempt to drive the 5000 mile round trip from London to Nordkapp (Norway), the most northerly point in Europe that is possible to reach by car.
Tony said: “We are really looking forward to the challenge. I had the idea in September and I’m pleased that we have managed to get sponsors to help cover our costs. The journey is a long one and we tell everyone it is 2500 miles which most people average over two months of normal driving but we need to do it in a week. And then we need to get home again, which is another 2500 miles.
“When deciding who to fundraise for, we wanted to choose two charities that had a personal importance to us. Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research and Anthony Nolan offer lifesaving treatment for all those affected by blood cancer.
Our journey to the Arctic Circle is a relatively small task compared to what those with blood cancer go through. Hopefully the ‘Arctic Blast’ can raise as much money and awareness of these great causes as possible.”
Laura Watts, Senior Fundraising Manager at Anthony Nolan, said “The fundraising that Paul and Tony are doing makes such a big difference.
It costs £100 to recruit each person to the Anthony Nolan register, so fundraising is a vital part of our lifesaving work. The more fundraising we do, the more potential donors we can recruit onto the bone marrow register, and the more lives we can save.”
To support Paul and Tony go to www.justgiving.com/teams/makingtracksarcticblast
Or follow their challenge at www.facebook.com/ArcticBlast2015