The family of a man who suffers from two rare and debilitating bone marrow disorders is organising a concert next month to raise funds for the charity which has helped him.
David Rogers of Birkby is ill with the cancer myeloma and the rarer and incurable AL amyloidosis, a bone marrow disorder which affects around 600 people in the UK.
David’s wife, Frances, and son, Michael, are members of Clifton and Lightcliffe Band and they have organised a band concert on Saturday, July 13 at Huddersfield Town Hall.
Also taking part will be Halifax Amateur Operatic Society - where Frances is also a member - and Brighouse singer Roger Davies. The programme of light entertainment will include songs from the shows and all proceeds will go to Myeloma UK.
Frances said: “As a nurse I had heard of myeloma but never of AL amyloidosis until my husband was diagnosed with an aggressive form. The charity was extremely supportive in the beginning and continues to be so.
“As Myeloma UK does not receive any government funding I wanted to do something to help support this charity so that they are able to continue their work and to raise awareness.”
David has been ill for about three years and now has to undergo dialysis three times a week as his kidneys were damaged during the chemotherapy treatment he received for the cancer.
So rare is 61-year-old David’s condition that he has to travel to London for specialist treatment and for Frances, looking after her husband and monitoring his health is a constant anxiety.
“David is very prone to pick up infection so he has to be very careful. He has had pneumonia recently and he gets very tired and lacking in energy.”
David’s battle with ill-health began in August 2009 when he had a routine hernia operation. But following the surgery he began to feel unusually tired and listless and severe anaemia was eventually diagnosed.
After further tests to investigate the cause of the anaemia, David was told that he was suffering from myeloma, an incurable cancer of the bone marrow, and chemotherapy was started.
In 2010 David delayed the start of dialysis treatment so that he could accompany Clifton and Lightcliffe Band on its trip to California. It was one of the band’s largest undertakings and David, always a keen supporter, was determined not to miss out on the chance to see Clifton and Lightcliffe in action at Disneyland.
“We had a wonderful time in America but David deteriorated very quickly after we got back. He reacted badly to one of his courses of treatment and was critically ill for a time.
“Looking after him and co-ordinating his various treatments and appointments is a juggling act - it’s like a full-time job!” said Frances, who has now retired from nursing.
It is unclear what exactly caused David’s illness - one theory is that there is a genetic factor, another is that it could be linked to David’s former job as a metallurgist.
Banding is an important part of cornet player Frances’s life and as soon as she mentioned that she was hoping to organise a fund-raising concert, David and Jane Clay of Clifton and Lightcliffe Band were enthusiastic in their support.
“It is daunting because Huddersfield Town Hall is such a big place but I’m really hoping the concert will be a success,” said Frances.
Among those attending will be Dr Kate Rothwell, consultant haematologist from Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust, and Roger Whittaker, deputy lieutenant of West Yorkshire.
David and Frances, who also have a daughter Carol, are hoping that the concert will help to fund research into better and safer treatments as well as deliver education programmes for healthcare professionals.
“We’ve had to find out so much ourselves,” said Frances, “and sometimes I feel I know as much as the doctors!”
Tickets are available from Frances on 01484 518391 or Jane Clay on 01422 201875.