'I started getting out of breath when I was cycling - then I was given a devastating diagnosis'

James Macpherson has always been an avid cyclist. It was was during one of his bike ride sessions he realised something was wrong. He was starting to get more out of breath than usual.

So James, who was 24 at the time, decided to go and get himself checked out. And in July 2014, he was given some devastating news. He was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

That was the start of his battle with the blood cancer. "It was a very tough route to cure, as my cancer was refractory (didn’t respond to treatment) and initial treatments did not work," he said.

READ MORE: 'I'd always been a curvy girl. By the time the truth came out, I'd turned to skin and bone'

"I had to move down to The Royal Marsden hospital in Surrey for a few months to take part in a phase 3 trial of a new immunotherapy which got rid of the cancer. My consultant Dr Samar Kulkarni at The Christie was instrumental in arranging this for me."

In February 2015, James underwent a stem cell transplant using cells harvested from his sister Freya who was a match. On Sunday James, now, 35, who is originally from Poynton and now lives in Stockport with partner of 18 years Leanna, is taking part in the Great Manchester Run in order to raise funds for The Christie.

Find out more - and donate - here.

He said he wanted to 'say thanks' for all the help and support his family provided during his illness, including his sister who donated her stem cells, and Leanna, his partner of 18 years, who works at The Christie, the specialist cancer centre in south Manchester, as a research practitioner.

He added: "I decided to enter the Great Manchester Run to mark the 10-year anniversary of my initial diagnosis and as a marker of how far I've come to get back to fitness over the years since, and potentially as a starting point for future fundraising.

"I wanted to recognise all the great work The Christie Charity does, be that improving patient services or the environment in the hospital. I also wanted to say thanks to all the staff who cared for me during my treatment, from the consultants and nurses to the kitchen staff, porters and domestic staff.

"Aside from my stem cell transplant, all my aftercare and monitoring has been handled by The Christie. Plus, some of my family and family friends have been treated there over the years, so it’s a massive thank you on their behalf too."

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