19th December 2016
Businessman Oliver Spark recently joined the Leuka Board of Trustees as our Treasurer.
He was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in July 2015 and had a bone marrow stem cell transplant in December 2015. He returned to work in the retail sector in September 2016 and wrote an article for a friend who was searching for 'the power of good' – not always easy when diagnosed with leukaemia. The article was published in the magazine Good Business. You can read the full article below.
Oliver is married with four children and is eternally grateful to his donor and all research into curing leukaemia.
A PERSONAL JOURNEY
So mine is personal. I woke up one morning, I went for a run, I went to work and I went to a Friday night party. I also fitted in a blood test with my local doctor at 5.30 pm – and was called into hospital at midnight. The police were about to come knocking on my door. They had been trying to reach me from 9.30pm; but, as I said, I was at a party. It was July 3 2015.
I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) and spent 20 out of the next 26 weeks living in a special room on my own (with visitors allowed- thank god!) having three bouts of chemotherapy – one descriptively called Intensification – and a bone marrow transplant. I came home on 24 December.
So where is 'the power of good' in that?! To be honest, while in 'the process' and the immediate aftermath of coming out of hospital, it has been difficult to see it. Other than being completely humbled by kindness from so many friends and learning how grateful I was to receive any good wishes, it just reminded me how lacking in thought I had been on so many occasions.
However, now through my first 100 day tests and being currently cancer-free, I am beginning to see some areas of good. Firstly, it is in health. I have moved onto fitness and living; and now I understand that I must eat healthily, be fit and manage stress.
I have read a lot, but there is no book better than “Anti-Cancer” by David Servan-Schreiber. You need to read this – not me, the bloke on the wrong side of cancer – but you who are cancer-free. The graphs of the growth in cancers in the West since 1940 are just too stark. It is everywhere and we all need to do something about it. For me, the power of good here comes from me educating myself and my family – and possibly even one of you? You can help yourself and you need to.
Secondly, it is love. I am married, I have four children, I have many friends – and then there is the broader world. Starting at the very closest – there is myself, and as has been said before, life begins with cancer. I hope to be around for many more years to come, but I can’t afford to miss any moment not to ensure that I have love between me, my wife and my family. Cancer does make you realise that you must leave some mark.
I haven’t yet taken on the broader world – I am immuno-suppressed and not even allowed out in public at the moment!…but that is the next area for me to think about, as to how I can do some good – however, small.
Article written for Good Business