Andrew is 68 years old; has been married to Jan for 50 years and has been a volunteer firefighter for also over 50 years. In 2021, Andrew was diagnosed with myelofibrosis, which is an uncommon form of bone marrow cancer. It disrupts the body's normal production of blood cells and causes extensive scarring in the bone marrow, leading to anaemia which can cause weakness and fatigue.

Through his life, Andrew very rarely got sick and has always been the person who gets up on the roof and cleans gutters. He started to find it difficult to perform this type of task and quickly became puffed.

"I'd hardly ever have a day off sick."

While working in the Pilbara, Andrew felt a pain in his abdomen, like a stitch. As he has previously had similar discomfort in this area, he dismissed it and carried on as usual. On his return to Perth, still not feeling well, he decided to visit his GP, who prescribed steroids, which didn’t help, and therefore sent Andrew for a series of blood tests.

"The diagnosis came as a bit of a surprise."
After receiving the blood test results, the GP referred Andrew to the Western Haematology and Oncology Clinic (WHOC) to see Dr Maan Alwan. Dr Alwan diagnosed Andrew with myelofibrosis. As the only known cure for myelofibrosis is a stem cell transplant, treatment of the symptoms is critical for the long-term management of the condition.
"It puts your mind round in circles - you don't know if you're coming or going or Arthur or Martha."

Dr Alwan informed Andrew he was eligible for a new clinical trial, led by the Perth Blood Institute, to assess the safety and tolerability of a specific drug for bone marrow cancer patients. Andrew knew what it meant to participate in a clinical trial, and there were no guarantees, but after asking questions and learning more about the trial, he agreed to participate.

"I thought, what have you got to lose."

Andrew has found the experience quite scary as he has never had any severe health issues prior to his diagnosis. He would definitely recommend participating in a clinical trial and is very happy and grateful for the support from WHOC and the sponsors of the trial. All expenses are covered, and the process is explained thoroughly.

"When you feel like there's something wrong it's up to you to decide if you want to go to the doctor to see what it is or just let it go."

Currently, Andrew’s bloods are good, and he will remain on the trial for as long as his body continues to respond well to the drug. While Andrew can no longer work in the Pilbara due to his treatment schedule, he works as a bus driver in Perth, and is still an active volunteer firefighter [and still going strong!]. Andrew maintains a healthy lifestyle to ensure he is in the best shape he can be in. He continues to feel a bit fatigued and puffed when doing jobs around the house, however, he hasn’t slowed down and continues to eat well, exercise and still enjoys a beer.