OLYMPIC hero Dame Kelly Holmes has opened up on the “heartbreaking” loss of her mother to a rare type of blood cancer.
The Team GB legend is now raising awareness for the Make Blood Cancer Visible campaign for charity Bloodwise.
Dame Kelly Holmes has opened up on the ‘heartbreaking’ loss of her mother to a rare form of blood cancer[/caption]
Dame Kelly, who won double gold medals at Athens 2004, is speaking out as it emerged more than half of British adults could not name any symptoms of the condition – despite it being one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers.
One in 19 people will be diagnosed with blood cancer and it is the third biggest cause of cancer deaths.
Pam Thomson was diagnosed with myeloma at the end of 2014 with Dame Kelly admitting she had never heard of the disease or understood what it was.
She said: “When she was diagnosed it was a big shock, because, one, I think no one had heard of myeloma.
Pam Thomson died in August last year and Dame Kelly has now become an ambassador to raise awareness for rare blood cancer[/caption]
Olympic legend Dame Kelly won two gold medals at Athens 2004[/caption]
“We didn’t really know what it was or understand what it was.
“And secondly, to say ‘you’ve got cancer’, isn’t a thing you want to hear with anyone.
“My mum always had a real strong mind and was positive, really, really positive about it, mainly because the consultant was brilliant, and said, ‘these are all the treatments. We can just keep trying. If one doesn’t work we’ll go on to the next one.’”
Pam, who Dame Kelly called Mother Dear, had chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant which initially improved her condition.
Dame Kelly is now an ambassador for the Make Blood Cancer Visible campaign[/caption]
Dame Kelly also admitted she has ‘struggled badly’ since her mother’s death[/caption]
But she died suddenly in hospital last August, aged 64.
Dame Kelly admitted in an interview on 5 Live that she has “struggled badly” with the death of her mother, who was only 17 when she had her.
The retired athlete, who also won Commenwealth gold and World and European silver medals in a glittering career, says she is delighted to now be an ambassador for the Make Blood Cancer Visible campaign.
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“The reality is that so many people that you walk past in the street, so many people of your friends and family, will get a cancer of some description,” she said.
“And the thing that we’re trying to bring with the Make Blood Cancer Visible campaign is the realisation that, actually, so many people could be walking around with an illness who won’t know.”