The story of a Croydon man who was diagnosed with an aggressive type of leukaemia forms part of a large-scale art installation to mark Blood Cancer Awareness Month.
Rich Castle, 51, is one of 104 people with blood cancer, chosen from across the country, to have their story told as part of the installation in Paternoster Square, next to St Paul’s Cathedral.
The installation represents the 104 people who are diagnosed with blood cancer every day in this country, making their experiences visible by telling their individual stories to raise public awareness.
Castle underwent chemotherapy at the Royal Marsden Hospital immediately after his diagnosis with acute myeloid leukaemia in 2008. While it was initially a successful, he relapsed in September 2009 and a stem cell transplant was his only hope of a cure. His brother was a perfect donor match and the procedure in December 2009 was a complete success. He has been in remission ever since.
The installation marks the launch of the “Make Blood Cancer Visible” campaign supported by the blood cancer research charity Bloodwise and eight other blood cancer charities and patient support groups.
Rich’s name, constructed in three dimensions at his exact height, with a summary of his blood cancer experience, features alongside other patients’ names and stories and plinths highlighting facts about blood cancer.
The pharmaceutical company Janssen commissioned artist Paul Cocksedge to create the installation, which is available for the public to visit until September 30.
“It’s vital to raise awareness of blood cancer since it is the third biggest killer and fifth biggest cancer out there,” Castle said.
“We need to create awareness to help save more lives through research which, of course, costs money. This installation is fantastic and will hopefully raise greater awareness of blood cancer and more funding into lifesaving research. It’s great to be a part of it.”
Bloodwise is a specialist blood cancer research charity dedicated to improving the lives of people living with and beyond blood cancer. The charity, which was formed in 1960, changed its name from Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research in September 2015.
Alasdair Rankin, the director of research at Bloodwise, said: “It is a complex disease area and public awareness of many different types of blood cancer is limited. We’ll be working with our researchers, clinicians and of course patients and carers across the UK to help raise awareness throughout September. It is great to see so many charities joining forces on this campaign and making blood cancer visible.”
The “Make Blood Cancer Visible” campaign is supported by nine blood cancer patient groups, including Bloodwise, Myeloma UK, Lymphoma Association, Waldenstrom UK, Leukaemia CARE, Anthony Nolan, CLL Support Association, MDS UK Patient Group Support and CML Support.
- Inside Croydon is a member of the Independent Community News Network
- Inside Croydon is the borough’s only independent news source, and still based in the heart of Croydon
- In the five months from April to August 2017, Inside Croydon generated more than 500,000 page views
- If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or a local event to publicise, please email us with full details at firstname.lastname@example.org