22 February 2017

Sheffield women team up to raise thousands for Sheffield Hospitals Charity myeloma appeal

Sheffield women team up to raise thousands for Sheffield Hospitals Charity myeloma appeal

The doting daughter of a city mum diagnosed with an incurable form of blood cancer has rounded up a generous cohort of fundraising females to raise thousands for a major Sheffield Hospitals Charity appeal.

Liz Cassidy, aged 33, from Crookes, was shocked and upset when her mum, Caroline was diagnosed with myeloma last year after suffering with persistent flu-like symptoms and severe back pain.

To say thank you for the treatment and support her mum has received, she put on a ladies night, selling second hand clothes, jewellery and accessories to raise more than £2,500 for a research project which aims to develop a cure for myeloma.

Liz said: “Prior to her diagnosis my mum had been suffering with flu-like symptoms and was feeling unwell much more than normal. She then started suffering with severe back pain, which despite trying physiotherapy and Pilates, did not improve.

“Her GP took a blood test which showed some inflammatory markers. She was referred to the haematology department at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, where a bone marrow biopsy confirmed that she had myeloma.

“When she told me I was shocked and upset. I had never heard of Myeloma, so I think my lack of understanding initially made things difficult for me to come to terms with it all. However, over time, I have slowly found out more information about myeloma and have made a conscious choice to be thankful for the amazing treatment that she has had access to.

“My mum is a very positive person and she has worked hard to remain optimistic which I am so proud of. She is still the amazing wife, mother and granny - or Gaga as my two children call her- that she has always been and I know that her diagnosis won’t change this.

“I now know that people with myeloma can live well for many, many years and obviously this is what I am hoping and praying for. I am also hopeful that a cure can be found, hence my fundraising for Sheffield Hospitals Charity’s myeloma appeal.”

Symptoms of myeloma include bone pain, fractures, fatigue, anaemia, kidney damage, infections and hypercalcaemia. Treatment is aimed at disease control, relieving the complications and symptoms it causes, and extending and improving the quality of patients’ lives.

Dr Andrew Chantry, haematology consultant at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, and his team of researchers have been working on the ‘anti-myeloma virus project’, which hopes to lead to a cure.

The project has used a genetically engineered virus to target and kill the cancerous myeloma cells without affecting healthy cells. Incredibly, after just two days of being introduced to the virus, myeloma cells were reduced by half and after four days, they had disappeared.

But the team needs £90,000 to continue the research over the next three years, prompting Sheffield Hospitals Charity’s appeal to raise the funds.

“Mum has such a high regard for Dr Chantry and his team. The fact that Dr Chantry is heavily involved in researching the best treatment options and is actually working really hard to find a cure for myeloma has given us strength.

“Amazingly, we were told last month that mum is now in remission. We are so thankful for this and she is now ready to get with living her life after the interruption of last year. I know the treatment available is so much better than it used to be but it is wrong that some cancers remain incurable.

“To help, I decided to do some fundraising. As a mum of young children, I don’t often get a chance to have a night out or treat myself to new clothes. I regularly go to second hand children’s clothes sales but had not heard of a ladies one, so I thought I would give it a go.

“We had a great night. Tesco on Infirmary road donated some bottles of fizz and my mum made some tasty canapés. Everyone went away with some new clothes which we had picked up for a bargain,” said Liz.

To donate funds for the anti-myeloma virus project’ visit www.sheffieldhospitalscharity.org.uk/curemyeloma

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