LLF was formed in 1997 but the story began some three years earlier. Marilyn Jones, LLF’s Chairperson explains.
In 1994 my husband needed stem cell treatment for his relapsed Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. This had to be carried out in Cardiff, because back then no similar facilities were available in Swansea. Already feeling very weak, the constant travelling was just exhausting. He felt so isolated during his 6 week stay at Cardiff’s Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, and that combined with the family’s constant travelling from Swansea, placed an enormous strain on all of us.
At the same time, also in Cardiff, the young wife of a fellow patient was distressed because their car had broken down, they simply couldn’t afford to have it repaired. To reach Cardiff she needed to catch 3 buses, greatly increasing her time away from their children, and significantly reducing time she could spend with her husband. All in all this seemed to us a terrible burden on top of the existing worry about her husband’s health.
We then campaigned for 18 months to have a BMTU at Singleton Hospital. Once this was agreed to by the local Health Authority, the small group of dedicated campaigners wanted to remain closely involved, so LLF was established. Our aims were to financially help patients who did not qualify for government benefits, and to support the staff of the BMTU by buying equipment and patient comforts not normally supplied by the hospital.
None of us dreamt that LLF would achieve so much so quickly. We’ve expanded beyond our hopes but our aims haven’t changed. The patients and staff of the BMTU at Singleton Hospital will always receive our total support and backing.