Tom Manley My Story:

On the 6th July 2018 my Dad; Peter - a fit and active man for his age, noticed a large bruise on his arm that he couldn’t explain.

Just 6 weeks later he had passed away.

He was 72.

What caused that bruise was a rare condition called Aplastic Anaemia, and it is a non-cancerous form of bone marrow failure that essentially wiped out Dad’s platelets (which stops bleeding) and white blood cells (which fight infections) from his bone marrow.

I hope you’d agree that this is sad, but you might be thinking that, as wonderful as my Dad was, 72 is a good age. Not as good or as long as it could have been, but good nonetheless. However, Dad’s age was actually irrelevant to this condition as whilst Aplastic Anaemia is thankfully rare, it comes out of the blue, at any age from Toddlers to the elderly and does not need a family history of the disease. There is no way of identifying those who might be affected by this.

In half of cases there is no known cause, it just appears one day and in all cases the complications are severe.

For the majority of those 6 weeks Dad was in good spirits and reasonable health, hopeful that the confirmation of his diagnosis would come through and his subsequent treatment plan could then begin. The kicker with Aplastic Anaemia though is what it leaves you susceptible to and without white blood cells Dad couldn’t fight off common infections and in the end it was Sepsis, an equally misunderstood and under-appreciated killer, which was the final straw.

I had never heard of Aplastic Anaemia before July and I’m sure you haven’t either, but reading stories of lives, both young and old being disrupted and destroyed by this condition has left me determined to help where I can.

This is why my wife Helen and I decided to complete a 100km ultra-walking challenge to raise funds and awareness for one of the main Aplastic Anaemia charities. The challenge is a 100km (62 mile) non-stop trek up, over and around the peak district over 36 hours in July. To complete the challenge in time we will need to walk throughout the night and cover a distance equivalent to walking non-stop from Liverpool to Sheffield!

My Dad always loved hiking and spent many of his younger days in the Peak District so this felt an appropriate way to honour his memory.

Any and all donations will be greatly received and many thanks for taking the time to read this message today.

Tom and Helen Manley. Tom Manley