MOUNT Rumney resident Mark Reid has taken part in the Leukaemia Foundation’s Light the Night virtual lantern ceremony, raising funds for research into the blood cancer and to support people and families who have been diagnosed with it.
Mr Reid was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in October last year aged 43 and embarked on a fundraising drive as part of Light the Night, which was held on 10 October.
“My diagnosis rocked myself and my family to the core,” he said.
“I’ve been through some rough treatment and I just wanted to be able to give back to others that are going through the same thing.”
Mr Reid said there were many challenges one faced when diagnosed with Leukaemia, not just for them, but also their families.
“I found out in the space of 14 hours from when I had a blood test to when I was told of the diagnosis, so my life was turned on its head very quickly,” he said.
“I went through a bone marrow transplant, which was extremely challenging for not only me, but for my family and wife.
“My wife and I had to go live in Melbourne for treatment for four and a half months away from our family and kids.
“We had plans to bring our kids over throughout the transplant process, but it couldn’t happen because of COVID.”
Mr Reid said he received a lot of support from the Leukaemia Foundation during his treatment and had set up the fundraising page on the Leukaemia Foundation website under ‘Choppers Light the Night’.
So far, he has raised more than $15,000, with there still being time to donate.
“It’s been awesome support from the community,” he said.
“The goal was originally $5000, but it grew out to $10,000 quickly.
“It’s a big shock for everyone when they’re diagnosed because no one expects to be diagnosed with Leukaemia – one day you’re living your life, and the next you’re being told you’ve got Leukaemia and half an hour later having treatment.”
Mr Reid said blood cancer took a toll on everything in your life and hoped his fundraising efforts helped shine a light on it.
“First it takes over your life, and then once it has done that and got a good hold of that, it starts to control your life on where you are, where you need to be, what’s happening, how you feel, the whole lot,” he said.
“It’s a massive mental battle.
“Your body is pretty remarkable in the way it recovers, but your mind is not quite at the level of your body and it takes a massive amount of recovery, which I’m still working on.”
To donate to Choppers Light the Night, visit https://secure.leukaemiafoundation.org.au/registrant/TeamFundraisingPage.aspx?teamID=119975.
For 13 years, Light the Night has been the only Australian event that brings the country’s entire blood cancer community together, including blood cancer patients, their families, carers and friends, and members of the medical and research communities to stand united in support for each other and a shared hope for a future free from blood cancer.
For more information about Light the Night, visit https://lightthenight.org.au/.