Artistic talents are drawn to tackling bone marrow cancer

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A PETERCULTER artist who was diagnosed with bone-marrow cancer last summer has used her artistic talents to raise £1500 for research.

It will be carried out through Myeloma UK, the only UK cancer organisation dealing specifically with research and support for myeloma and related disorders.

Rita Cormack raised the funds by holding a recent week-long exhibition of her work at her home near Culter School.

Rita has just undergone a year of treatment, including chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant, and is delighted to find she is now in remission and enjoying a life free of drugs and pain.

She said: “My family, friends and neighbours were extremely supportive, which helped me keep a positive outlook throughout the year, and when my 20-year-old daughter signed up to run the Edinburgh Marathon last May in aid of Myeloma UK I decided that I wanted to do some fundraising for the charity as well.

“Two of my artist friends, Gonda Enters and Louisa Coutts, joined me in this venture of putting on our first own exhibition. Doing my artwork and planning this event has kept me focused and given me wonderful distraction from the constant treatment.

‘‘We had a very busy and successful preview afternoon last Saturday during which we sold almost half of our framed artwork, lots of cards, gemstone jewellery and some lovely bone china jugs created by another friend, Rhona Carrell of Carrell Designs.”

Myeloma is an increasingly common cancer of the plasma cells, which are found in the bone marrow and are responsible for protecting the body against infection. It is incurable but treatable (though it will return) and symptoms include bone pain and fractures, kidney damage, fatigue and infections - unfortunately it has one of the highest rates of diagnosis delays. Some 71% of patients are over 65, with 70% surviving for one year or more after diagnosis.

The charity offers a complete range of service to patients, family and carers. It innovated a Myeloma Nurse Learning Programme (with around 750 nurses), the only one of its type in the UK, and produced the first evidence-based guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and management. There are now 50 Myeloma Support Groups across the country, with the newest one having been recently formed in Aberdeen on Wednesday, September 24, attended by 17 patients and family members.

For more information or to make a donation, visit www.myeloma.org.uk/about-us/media-centre/about-myeloma-uk.

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