Simon Thomas launches blood cancer research fund in memory of wife Gemma
By Sky Sports News
Last Updated: 15/05/19 6:07pm
Former Sky Sports presenter Simon Thomas has launched a blood cancer research fund in memory of his wife, Gemma, who died in November 2017.
Simon, who is a president of blood cancer charity Bloodwise, has launched the Gemma Thomas Fund to raise money for research into acute myeloid leukaemia, the form of cancer which Gemma died from.
Gemma passed away at the age of 40, just three days after being diagnosed with AML, leaving behind Simon and their son Ethan, who was eight years old at the time.
Plans to raise awareness for the fund include an ambitious 30-day challenge in September 2019 as part of Blood Cancer Awareness Month.
Simon said: "It makes my heart glad because it's bringing something good out of the utter wreckage of losing Gemma, and I am determined to raise as much money as I can for the Gemma Thomas Fund.
"I want to invest in the research that will allow us to better predict when this disease might happen, and find new treatments that will save more lives and mean more families don't have to experience such a devastating loss.
"I also want to make sure more people are aware of the signs and symptoms of all blood cancers so we can improve early diagnosis and give people that fighting chance.
"Over half the population cannot name a single symptom of the disease, and yet it kills more people than breast or prostate cancer every year. That awareness has to improve."
Survival rates for AML, an aggressive form of cancer, are very low, with just 15 per cent of people surviving for five years or more.
Bloodwise will invest funds raised by Simon into research projects to improve our understanding of AML and to find more effective treatments for the disease.
Gemma Peters, chief executive of Bloodwise said: "Gemma's legacy has already had such a positive impact on the lives of so many.
"We are proud that this will continue through the work of the Gemma Thomas Fund, as we look to improve our understanding of blood cancer and find better treatments, especially for acute myeloid leukaemia, for which survival rates remain so poor.
"It is a huge privilege to be working with Simon in his role as a President of Bloodwise, and we look forward to working with him over the next few years to improve the outlook for everyone affected by blood cancer."
AML is a type of blood cancer that affects around 2,500 people every year in the UK.
Symptoms include persistent and unexplained tiredness, infections, fever, bleeding, and weight loss.
For more information on the Gemma Thomas Fund and Simon's role as president of Bloodwise, visit www.bloodwise.org.uk/Simon.