World Cancer Day – Richmond cancer survivor raises funds for charity that saved his life

A Richmond man released a book detailing his physical, mental, and emotional battle with cancer to raise money for the charity that provided his life-saving blood transplant.

In light of World Cancer Day, Richard Jefferies, 53, spoke about his book Turning Time and reflected on how Anthony Nolan found the stem cell donor who cured his leukaemia.

Ten years ago, Jefferies noticed his usual running routine was becoming increasingly difficult which prompted him to get medical advice.

Tests showed a critically low level of healthy blood cells, and he was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer called myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).

Jefferies said: “They told me my only chance of long-term survival was through a stem cell transplant from an unrelated healthy donor.”

MDS is characterised as a malignant blood disorder when a person’s bone marrow fails to produce healthy red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.

When diagnosed, Jefferies wrote ‘Turning Time’ to document his fight with MDS and the reality of waiting for a successful blood donor.

All profits are donated to Anthony Nolan, the blood cancer charity that provided his transplant.

The story’s protagonist, Rob, is stalked by a tiger called Mr Cheat, who symbolises Jefferies’ cancer.

Mr Cheat is characterised by his stealthy, ever-present nature and forces Rob to process pain and loss through humour and introspective reflection, in turn transforming his whole perspective on life.

Jefferies described the book as a “detailed, philosophical and often humorous insight from first-hand experience of blood cancer and finding a cure in a stem cell transplant.”

He added: “I just want to keep paying them back, to keep saying thank you to Anthony Nolan for saving my life.”

Kirsty Mooney, Head of Supporter Led Fundraising at Anthony Nolan said: “We are over the moon that, following his transplant, Richard is living a full life, cancer-free and are incredibly grateful to him for his continuing support.”

Blood cancer is responsible for 9% of all new cancer cases, making it the fifth most common type of cancer killer in the UK.

Anthony Nolan urges any healthy 16 to 30-year-olds to join the Anthony Nolan register as approximately 2,300 people need a transplant from a stranger each year in the UK.

Only one in five patients of Black, Asian or of ethnic minority backgrounds receive successful transplants, Anthony Nolan is specifically targeting these groups for more donors.

To support Jefferies and Anthony Nolan this World Cancer Day you can purchase Turning Time in paperback or Kindle download here.

If you have been diagnosed with MDS and need any help or support, you can visit the websites below:

MDS Patient Support Group: Information & Help for those affected by MDS Blood cancer support

Blood Cancer UK Global Patient Support Groups

MDS Foundation (

For more information about how to join the Anthony Nolan register, visit:

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