BONE-shaker MARROW-thon
BONE-shaker MARROW-thon ride organiser Katherine Sinfield had been suffering from various health complaints for a number of years including severe headaches, nose bleeds, repeat chest infections, night sweats and chronic fatigue. As a teacher, doctors repeatedly put these symptoms down to working long hours and picking up germs from the children. In April 2013, age 32, Katherine was struggling to walk - she was in severe pain and her leg became swollen. Early on Monday, April 15, 2013, Katherine decided to visit the accident and emergency department at the Queen’s Hospital in Burton. One doctor working in A&E that morning said: “Many people who turn up at A&E don’t really need to be here – but you certainly do need our help”. Katherine was immediately put on oxygen. Katherine was diagnosed with a blood clot which had travelled to her lungs – a pulmonary embolism – and chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML). A brief stay in Burton hospital followed while the blood clot was treated and drug therapies were prescribed for the leukaemia. By July 2013, these life-saving leukaemia tablets had failed and Katherine was admitted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. A worldwide search began for a stem cell donor while Katherine underwent extensive chemotherapy and total body irradiation – she spent nearly eight weeks in hospital. After a few weeks at home, Katherine returned for more chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant after a matching donor was found in Germany. Throughout Katherine’s illness and diagnosis, every day of her ordeal was published in detail in an online diary and in the Burton Mail and Ashbourne News Telegraph newspapers. National newspapers, television and radio followed as Katherine worked to warn people of the symptoms of leukaemia and to help the charities which had helped save her life. Katherine had suffered with undiagnosed leukaemia for years – by the time she was diagnosed, her life was in jeopardy. Extensive press coverage continued as Katherine’s campaign grew and it wasn’t long before awards and accolades followed. Katherine made the regional shortlist for a Pride of Britain Award in 2014, she was awarded the Touch FM “Pride of Burton” Award, the Cure Leukaemia “Champion” award and was commended in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham “Best in Care” awards. While two awards from the charity Anthony Nolan resulted in an invitation to the Houses of Parliament in London.

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