A GP from Yateley is cycling 100 miles in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 event to thank blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan after a bone marrow transplant saved his wife.
David Hearn’s wife, Jools, also a GP, received a shock diagnosis of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia in June 2013.
David, 59, says, ‘She became quite tired and was very pale but we thought it was down to an ear infection. We had booked to go Australia to follow the British Lions, but before we left I persuaded her to have a blood test. When she showed me the results I just said, “Well, we can’t go to Australia”. The taxi that was supposed to take us to the airport took us to the hospital.
‘It was such a shock. Being ‘in the trade’ so to speak means we knew a bit more about what was going on. She never takes time off work so it all seemed odd.’
Jools then underwent chemotherapy treatment and was a told her best chance of survival was a bone marrow transplant from a stranger. Thankfully a match was found by Anthony Nolan, and Jools had a transplant in November 2014.
‘It was a relief to hear that Anthony Nolan had found a donor. It really brought it home how it important it is to the join the register after hearing her sisters weren’t a match. All my daughters have since joined the register.’
The transplant was an initial success but Jools sadly relapsed in September 2014.
‘We just had no choice but to go through it all again. Thankfully the second time round we knew we had a donor and we didn’t have to go through all the uncertainty.’
Jools underwent a second transplant from the same unrelated donor in January 2015 and she is now on the long road to recovery, even starting to get back to work.
David has now vowed to thank Anthony Nolan by cycling the 100 mile RideLondon route to raise vital funds towards the charity’s lifesaving work.
‘The charity has done so much for us and I want to give something back. Even as a GP I hadn’t realised how simple it is to be a donor and that Anthony Nolan need vital funds to recruit donors and conduct ground-breaking research into blood cancer.’
‘It’s extremely altruistic thing for young people to become donors. It’s amazing for someone to do something so important for someone they may never meet.’
Kirsty Low, Head of Events at Anthony Nolan, says, ’We are so happy to hear that Jools is on the road to recovery and that David is supporting us with his lifesaving efforts by cycling Ride London with us this year.
‘Our incredible team will be cycling many leg-testing miles in order to save lives. The funds they raise will enable us to recruit more potential bone marrow donors to the Anthony Nolan register – any one of whom could be a lifesaving match for someone with blood cancer.’
To sponsor David’s effort go to virginmoneygiving.com/DavidHearn4
If you're in good health and aged 16-30 you can sign up to the register by clicking on the button below: