A health professional who donated bone marrow to save his brother’s life 25 years ago has climbed into the saddle for a 150-mile cycling marathon to raise funds for Sheffield Hospitals Charity.
The £650 raised so far by Chris Bowes will fund further research into the long term effects of cancer care in the decades and years after treatment.
The 39-year-old, who works as a chief audiologist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, says that although cancer survival rates are increasing, less is known about the long-term impact cancer treatments may have on cancer survivors.
Chris’ brother Simon was diagnosed with leukaemia when he was 17, and although he made a full recovery from the cancer, he now suffers with many side effects relating to the treatments which saved his life.
Chris said: “Simon was diagnosed with leukaemia in 1992, following symptoms of extreme lethargy and a swollen neck and glands. Some days he was so tired that he couldn’t get out of bed.
“His treatment involved high doses of chemotherapy, total body irradiation and a bone marrow transplant which put him in remission. However, he was often unwell during this time.
“Doctors didn’t know if his body would tolerate a bone marrow transplant, but it was agreed and I was a donor match. I was only 15 at the time, but it wasn’t a choice, if he hadn’t had it, he would have died. However, Simon survived the cancer and was able to live his life.
“Simon lived a normal life for many years; he went to college, got married and was able to have a baby. However, over time, he gradually developed more and more problems which are as a result of the late effects of his treatment.
“Now, 20 years on, he suffers with permanent lung damage, an impaired heart valve, diabetes requiring insulin, testosterone treatment and medication for his thyroid. He also has an enlarged liver, cataract damage, poor kidney function, muscle weakness, extreme fatigue and the mental health issues that come with coping with all these issues.”
Simon said: “Before I was under the care of the Late Effects team I had many symptoms and nobody seemed to understand what was happening.” Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/chris-bowes to donate.