72, was approached to take part in a research study at Manchester
Royal Infirmary after being diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia
(AML) two days before Christmas in 2015.
AML is a malignant condition of the bone marrow and results in
failure of the bone marrow to produce enough blood cells (red
cells, white cells and platelets), because the marrow contains too
many leukaemia cells.
The condition most commonly affects people over the age of 60,
but can occur at any age. In the UK, there are around 3000 new
cases diagnosed each year.
Bill started to experience shortness of breath and physical
aches and pains as he celebrated his son's birthday, but he
convinced himself it was just his age. His son though, thought
otherwise, and booked his dad an appointment to see the doctor who
ensured Bill underwent blood tests. He was then diagnosed
The Denton resident was invited to take part in a research
study, led by Dr
Eleni Tholouliand the
Adult Oncology Research Team at Manchester Royal Infirmary
At first, Bill was hesitant. He'd lost his beloved wife of more
than 50 years, Jean, just four months previously and he missed her
He then also thought of his new baby granddaughter, Charlotte
Jean, born just a day before he was diagnosed with AML and he knew
that taking part was the right thing to do - he knew Jean would be
proud of him.
Bill with wife, Jean and granddaughter,
Here, Bill explains his decision to go ahead and
participate in the study here at CMFT…
In August 2015, my wife of 53 years, Jean, passed away after
losing her battle with breast cancer. This had a huge impact on our
family - four children and six grandchildren - and I still miss her
Later that year, I was heading to my son's house for a meal to
celebrate his birthday. We were walking back from the pub
after a few celebratory drinks when I found myself struggling to
walk and feeling aches, pains and shortness of breath. I thought
the difficulty breathing was down to 60 years of smoking and it was
just part of life as I got older! My son booked me an appointment
at the doctors and I had a blood sample taken the next day.
I was woken by the phone ringing in the early hours of the
following morning. It was a staff member at Tameside Hospital who
told me that I needed to go straight to hospital; there was a bed
waiting for me, and an ambulance ready to pick me up from home. I
called my son and he took me to the hospital where I remained for
10 days having tests, bloods taken and injections.
I was then diagnosed with Acute Myeloid leukaemia (AML). At
first, I did not care if I lived or died. I had just lost Jean and
I asked the doctor how long I'd have left without any treatment:
two to three months was his reply. In my head I had decided I just
wanted to spend my last Christmas at home with my family.
Consultant Haematologist, Muhammad
Saif then told me about a research study taking place at
Manchester Royal Infirmary. After thinking about it, I decided to
take part. Having lost Jean to cancer and the arrival of a new
granddaughter, Charlotte Jean (named after my wife) I felt the need
to play my part. By taking part in the research, I knew that I
would be helping other people in the future, finding new treatment
options available and I knew my wife would not have wanted me to
quit, she would have wanted me to keep fighting and to help others
in the same situation.
I handled the treatment well, including three cycles of intense
chemotherapy followed by long stays in hospital. The staff
members at MRI, including those in the Adult Oncology Research
Team, have been absolutely fantastic - they have been so caring,
compassionate and supportive throughout the process.
I am now in remission and have to come back to the hospital
regularly for check-ups and blood tests. I am looking forward to
seeing my lovely Charlotte Jean grow, alongside my other six
I am glad that I was given the opportunity to take part in
research and I would encourage others to do the same.