AN Appleton parish councillor has opened up about how people should be more aware about the symptoms of leukaemia

John Price, who lives in the village, was diagnosed with the form of blood cancer 17 years ago and describes himself as incredibly lucky to be surviving the third biggest cancer killer.

The 68-year-old explained how he first went to the doctors after feeling more tired than usual and thought he might have the flu.

He was shocked when a blood test revealed he had leukaemia.

John recalled: "When I was diagnosed, the first thing than happens when you hear that word is you're scared to death.

"I'll never forget that phone call.

"It was a very difficult time because leukaemia can take hold quite quickly.

"Luckily mine did not, I have been very lucky."

As part of Blood Cancer Awareness Month, John is promoting the #SpotLeukaemia campaign from the Leukaemia Care charity to make people aware of symptoms which are often mistaken for common illnesses, including fatigue, fever, bruising and bleeding, bone and joint pain and repeated infections.

He said: "I am a patient advocate for Leukaemia Care.

"I sit in a group of patients who work with the charity and they use us as a talking point.

"I have also become a phone buddy which means I speak to people who have been diagnosed recently.

"The most important thing is talking to someone who has survived it.

"Early diagnosis clearly saves lives."

Leukaemia Care, the national blood cancer support charity, helped John throughout his diagnosis so he was determined to give something back.

He added: "They made it less scary, that's why I spend a lot of my time supporting them.

"You can give them a ring and there is always someone there to give you advice."

The charity's helpline is open 9am until 5pm each day with nurse services available across various days.

The symptoms of leukaemia everyone should be aware of are:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Shortness of breath
  3. Fever or night sweats
  4. Bruising or bleeding
  5. Bone and/or joint pain
  6. Repeated infections

Director of patient advocacy for the charity, Zack Pemberton-Whiteley, said: "We’re delighted that John has chosen to share his story to raise awareness.

"This is part of our ongoing efforts to ensure that people are more aware of the vague symptoms of leukaemia which can often be mistaken for other common illnesses, such as the flu.

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"We’d encourage members of the public in Warrington to take our free online course which will improve their awareness of leukaemia."

More information on the #SpotLeukaemia campaign can be found online.