A builder/carpenter from Handsworth Wood is defying his second battle with blood cancer to step up his fundraising for Cure Leukaemia.
Mark Fitzgerald, aged 57, was first diagnosed with blood cancer back in December, 2012, undergoing intensive treatment at the Centre for Clinical Haematology at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital followed by a bone marrow transplant which helped him into remission.
After six years in remission, blood cancer has now returned in the form of myelodysplastic syndrome, leaving Mark now undergoing further cycles of chemotherapy and injections.
Despite this setback, he is staying positive and focusing on fundraising and aiming to engage the people of Handsworth Wood and Sutton Coldfield to help raise money for Cure Leukaemia.
“During the time of my treatment when I was first diagnosed with leukaemia, I missed one son’s wedding and another other son’s 18th birthday, which was very difficult to take,” says Mark.
“Those setbacks made me stronger, and I thought to myself, ‘whilst I am finishing my chemotherapy, and waiting for my bone marrow transplant, I would get better so as to be there for many more birthdays and to see my sons grow up.'
“The transplant put me into remission, where I stayed up until recently, before finding out that the disease has returned.
“But I am determined not to let that get me down, and to stay positive.
“At the moment I don’t really know what the future holds and how this treatment will go, but I am staying upbeat by raising funds for such a fantastic charity in Cure Leukaemia.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who have already said they will support me.
“Every penny will go towards supporting patients like me being treated at the amazing Centre for Clinical Haematology.
“My Professor, Charlie Craddock CBE, believes that effective treatments for all blood cancers can be found within 25 years - that's an inspiring message and I hope we can do our bit to speed that process up.”
Having had to retire from his work as a builder and carpenter due to his ill health, Mark remains indebted to the support of his family – wife Helen and their four sons Ben, Lee, Alex and Sam.
“I think the people who really suffer are the families, it is harder for them going through every step with you hoping and praying for their loved one to recover,” he added.
“I am just as determined that however things turn out for me, I want to carry on fundraising to help others in the same situation.”
Mark has just completed his third cycle of chemotherapy injections with the aim of getting back into remission.
Events already organised include a 24-hour football tournament, end of season presentation and an 11-a-side charity match in August.
Click HERE to visit Mark’s fundraising page and support his efforts for Cure Leukaemia.
How funds raised for Cure Leukaemia help save lives