“The Royal Marsden has given us this beautiful second chance at life”
35-year-old Amar shares his experience of being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia, giving back to The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity as part of his wedding day and taking part in Celebrate a Life last Christmas.
“My (now) wife Jasi and I got engaged in October 2021, and we were planning to get married the following summer. I’d also just been promoted at work – life was good. However, I unfortunately contracted COVID-19 in December 2021, and as it was taking me a while to recover, we thought I had long Covid."
"Blood tests at my GP showed that my blood counts were dropping, but not beyond normal range. But then I got a worrying call from the GP after a repeat blood test, saying my white blood cells were almost depleted. Eventually, after two or three trips to A&E, I was admitted to hospital and on 22 April 2022 I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia, or AML."
“I had no prognosis at that point, so it was a complete guessing game as to whether I'd still be here or not in a few months’ time. It was a huge hammer blow and an incredibly emotional time when I was diagnosed. I was a fit and healthy person, normally cycling around 100 miles a week."
“I whole-heartedly put all my faith and trust in The Royal Marsden”
Following his diagnosis at his local hospital, Amar was referred to Consultant Haematologist David Taussig at The Royal Marsden. The Royal Marsden Haemato-oncology Unit is one of the largest in Europe, diagnosing and treating a wide range of blood cancers. Research carried out in the Unit, which is helping to improve treatment options for blood cancer patients, is supported by The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.
“I had four cycles of chemotherapy; a combination of multiple different drugs that took a huge toll on my body. It meant I couldn’t work and of course we had to postpone our wedding. However, I responded well to the chemotherapy – the first cycle wiped out most of the leukaemia in my body and then the second one practically eradicated it. The third and fourth cycles were to get rid of any cancer cells in the brain."
“I whole-heartedly put all my faith and trust in The Royal Marsden, given the nature and complexity of my treatment. Their expertise and their experience of how to deal with situations is what really shines through. The speed at which you are treated, the speed at which you get results back and blood tests, it is fantastic.”
Amar was given the all clear in November 2022 and went on to take part in Celebrate a Life that year in support of The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.
“After being treated for most of the year at The Royal Marsden, my family and I were very happy to be able to attend Celebrate a Life. The hospital has given me an amazing second shot at life and we wanted to celebrate with the amazing staff and wider community who support this fantastic organisation.”
Wedding bells – special occasion giving
Amar and his wife Jasi were able to get married in August 2023, and decided to ask for donations to The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity in lieu of wedding favours.
“As soon as I was well enough, I said ‘we’re getting married now, because I’ve waited long enough to marry you.’ So, we got married legally in February 2023 and then we had the big Indian wedding in the summer."
“We created cards which went on each table place at the wedding – there were 370 guests – that said we had donated to The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and we added a QR code for any guests who also wanted to donate themselves."
“While having treatment, the idea of the wedding felt far away. Cancer brings you down and you have to rebuild. In a way though, it also meant by delaying the wedding, we had such a clear idea of how we wanted it to be and really appreciated reaching that moment."
“I’m tested every three months, but I remain cancer-free. I haven’t cycled in a while due to treatment, but I will be going back to that – I’d like to take part in a fundraising challenge for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, that’s my next goal.”
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