Despite having Myelofibrosis, a rare form of leukemia and being told he only has 16 months to live, Andy Latham is using all his energy to spread awareness for others like him.
Andy, aged 59, from Gateford, said: “Even if a donor cannot be found for me I am doing this so that some good can come out of the bad.
“I have incredibly supportive friends and family who have rallied around me through this and I want to live.”
Andy and his family are fundraising for the charity Anthony Nolan and are encouraging as many people as possible to become stem cell donors.
If Andy can find a match for a donor he could extend his life by five years or more.
Dan Latham, Andy’s son, said: “Five years could mean that he would get to see me get married and have children which all parents deserve to see.
“As a family we’re refusing to accept that he only has 16 months left and we are putting all our energy into fundraising for the charity.”
Next week, a friend of the family Rita Lamb is having her head shaved to raise money.
Rita who is 84 will be having her remaining hair dyed green and black as those are the colours of the charity.
“We’re blown away by what Rita is going to do for us and we want to say a massive thank you,” Dan said.
“She’s already raised £700 and we think she’s amazing.”
The family is also hosting a raffle with prizes donated from local businesses and they are hoping to put on a charity concert later this year.
Andy has so far had seven blood transfusions which is 13 units of blood.
He is also on medication and injections to improve his quality of life.
Andy said: “If I spend all my time worried and upset I could shorten my life expectancy and I have no intention of doing that.
“I want to say thank you to the NHS who have treated me, they have been absolutely brilliant.
“My key worker vowed to keep me alive until they could find me a donor.”
Andy has worked on the railway for the last 43 years as a production sport engineer.
“He is by far one of the most kind, caring and generous men I have ever met and I feel very fortunate as do my siblings that I was able to be one of his children.
“His glass is always half full and he sees the best in every situation usually with a witty quip.”
If you would like to donate to the Anthony Nolan charity or register to become a donor you can here.