A community are backing a cancer victim in his ambitious campaign to raise awareness of his rare illness.
Rod Alexander from Christleton has spent almost two years battling the rare condition myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow, which only affects around 5000 people in the UK each year.
The 55-year-old knew something wasn’t right in spring 2013 when he noticed his energy levels were slipping, he had an extreme chest infection and found he was also suffering rectal bleeding.
When he went for an eye test, the optician found he had retinal haemorrhaging in both eyes and he was suffering increasing back pain, which at one point got so bad he couldn’t get up from the toilet.
After several tests, which his wife Sue had pestered a GP friend to arrange, dad-of-two Rod was diagnosed with stage 3 myeloma and had to be hospitalised immediately for tests, followed by chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant.
Two years on, Rod, of Little Heath Road, is recovering well but will have to be monitored and have another transplant in a few years time, but right now he’s concentrating on raising awareness of myeloma as much as he can, with the help of his friends and neighbours who have rallied round to arrange various fundraising events to raise money for further research into the disease.
Rod, a technical sales representative whose work often requires driving up and down the country, told The Chronicle: “I was extremely lucky my myeloma was diagnosed when it was. I knew something just wasn’t right with me, I just didn’t know what.
“I wanted to do something positive and Myeloma UK is the only charity dedicated to supporting patients and their families so I’m very lucky I have such good people around me to help me on my fundraising mission.
“Some have got involved with a bridge evening, a zumbathon, coffee morning, others are running the Chester Half Marathn and some are taking part in a 225-mile cycle ride over three days from Chepstow to Chester in June.
”It’s about getting that awareness and keeping mylenoma in people’s minds. I want to advise readers, to go to your GP if you’re concerned ask if your back pain could be myeloma and demand a full blood count and protein tests.
Rod added: “Christleton is a village community - many of us have known each other for years, there’s a real spirit among us; we often go on camping trips together and things like that. I’m bowled over at people’s generosity - people are so kind.
“My wife and I have some wonderful friends here and we wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.”
A fundraising concert, headlined by Del Amitri lead vocalist Justin Currie, will be held at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester on June 20, and will also feature hester bands MoCo and Poor Misguided Fools, as well as Christleton-based singer/songwriter Sophie de Winter.
For more details and to support Rod’s appeal, visit www.rodsmoneyformyeloma.co.uk after it goes live on April 10, follow the progress on Facebook www.facebook.com/Rods Money for Myeloma or on Twitter @ForRods