21st-28th June is Myeloma Awareness Week

Myeloma is a rare cancer which attacks the blood and bone marrow. Only 3% of the UK population have heard of it and it accounts for 1-2% of cancers.

Forever Manchester has funded North Manchester and Bury Myeloma Support Group on a couple of occasions.

This group is very important to its users. The fact that the cancer is little known means that on diagnosis patients have usually never heard of anyone else with such an illness. As with all cancers they can feel frightened and shocked but this is exacerbated by the fact that they know of no-one with whom to share their experiences.

No-one knows what causes this cancer and there is no cure and although there are some treatments it will inevitably come back. The treatments themselves can be very harsh and consist of chemotherapy and stem cell transplants and they can make patients feel very low.

The major disadvantage users have is the fact that they feel isolated without the group. The cancer causes significant bone pain and fractures. Many of the group have lost height due to fractured vertebrae as well as developing early onset osteoporosis. This complete change to body image is very demoralising and, for many, depressing.

The fact that it is not a curable form of cancer nor is the reason for it known – there are no links to smoking, obesity etc. as with other cancers and many of the people were fit previously makes it difficult to come to terms with getting the illness.

Many new members find comfort in knowing other people with Myeloma. One member on joining was feeling depressed and commented on how they had taken solace from the fact that they had met such positivity from other members of the group.

The group does a variety of things for its users. They’ve had speakers on a variety of things including coping with the effects of the illness itself such as coping with fatigue or a dental specialist on coping with a dry mouth which is a side effect of the treatment.

In addition the group creates new friendships and reduces isolation.

Forever Manchester funded the support group as they try to fund the cost of attending the local info days for those who wish to go as they have always felt that people should not be prevented from coming because of cost.

Of their funding, North Manchester and Bury Myeloma Support Group said: “The award has enabled us to continue to fund our meetings, which have provided information on coping with Myeloma, providing friendships and social contact and reducing the isolation people feel when given the diagnosis of Myeloma. These benefits were identified in the responses to a questionnaire completed by group members.

“A number of the group members have relapsed, requiring intensive treatment and this means that emotional support is more important. A more practical challenge is finding interesting and relevant speakers to come to our meetings, as they provide a focus.”

Forever Manchester is proud to be able to support groups like North Manchester and Bury Myeloma Support Group. Although it isn’t that well-known of a cancer, this group is still well attended and because it isn’t well known it’s very much appreciated by all of its attendees.

The group brings together people who are going through their hardest times and together they can laugh and smile and leave each week with positivity about their cancer fight.

If you’d like to help us to fund more groups like this DONATE TODAY and help us to make a real difference to the lives of local people in your area.