About Mark Smith

 

Marks A Smith

Your Community Champion

Ampthill & District Rotary Club Community Service Award Recipient 2008

    • Born 1962
    • Lifelong Resident of Ampthill
    • Attended Russell Lower School (a former Governor), Firs Lower School, Alameda Middle School & Redborne Upper School
    • Works for Local Community Development Charity (Community & Voluntary Service)
    • After severe illness during the 1990's has been passionate about doing more for the community (find out about my Leukaemia Fight below)
    • Trustee/Committee Member of the following organisations:
      • Ampthill & District Good Neighbours - Founder & Chairman of this community care scheme, whereby those that can help voluntarily offer help to those in need in Ampthill, Millbrook & Maulden
      • Parkside Hall - assisting in trying to get a new hall for the town
      • Mid Beds Citizens Advice Bureau - that provides advice on all matters from their base in Ampthill. A former volunteer and now trustee
      • Bedford Credit Union - a local financial cooperative run for the benefit of its members that offers secure savings and low cost loans. Now available to all that live Ampthill. I was one of those instrumental ensuring this is now available to local residents
      • Ampthill Festival Committee Member - for over 10 years, for an event that brings joy to the town each year
    • A founder of the new 'Pride in Ampthill' Initiative - tidying up our beautiful town
    • Awarded the 'Ampthill & District Rotary Club Community Service Award 2008'
    • Ampthill Town Councillor - since 1997
    • Ampthill Town Mayor - 2005/6
    • Mid Beds District Councillor (Independent) - for Ampthill & Millbrook - from 2007 to 2009. I remain the only Independent candidate with a realistic chance in 2011 of been elected to the new Central Beds Unitary Council (having failed by only 15 votes in my attempt in 2009)
    • Central Beds Councillor - since 2011
    • Voluntary Webmaster of www.ampthill.biz - responsible for promoting Ampthill's business sector
    • Voluntary Webmaster of www.ampthill.info - the website that aims to inform, engage and empower the residents of Ampthill. Well Worth a look!  

Mark Smith - Passionate about your community - Your Community Champion - working tirelessly for the community all year round


My Leukaemia Fight

I am a survivor of Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia, in no small part due to the tireless efforts of the Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Trust in locating, not one but two compatible donors for my two bone marrow transplants and the fact that I was treated at Hammersmith Hospital, in London, by the leading authority on Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia at the time, namely Prof. John Goldman.

The Trust has built up a register of nearly 300,000 potential donors and I would urge you to consider becoming a donor. To register all you will require is a simple blood test And will have to be between the ages of 18 & 40 (although after 40 you remain the register until your middle 50's). This is done at your local surgery from a pack sent out by the Trust. Then in the future, if matched with a patient you will be asked to spend a couple of days in hospital, so bone marrow can be harvested from your hip bone. This process is done under general anaesthetic, with a needle inserted into the centre of the bone to draw out the bone marrow (which looks like blood, but has a thicker consistency). The only side effect of the procedure will be slight tenderness around the area of the harvest. A small price to pay in the knowledge that you may be saving someone's life!

For the patient a bone marrow transplant simply involves conditioning, through chemotherapy &/or radiotherapy, to kill off the diseased bone marrow and then the donated bone marrow is introduced into the patients body in the manner of a blood transfusion. This will then engraft itself and over time will begin producing healthy blood cells, free of the Leukaemia cells. At least that's the theory. It failed for me with my first transplant in 1993, but was successful with my second transplant in 1996. It does however irritate me that the press refer to bone marrow transplants as operations, because I believe this puts people off from becoming potential donors, and as you can tell from the foregoing that this is not the case!

With medical advances, progress in drug therapies and stem cell research in meaning that more and more people are surviving, what once appeared a 'death sentence'. One in three people will contract cancer in their lifetime and it is reassuring to know advances are occuring all the time and that cancer can be beaten.

About 4000 people are diagnosed with Leukaemia each year and the Anthony Nolan Trust manage to match about 300 patients and donors a year, so please consider becoming a donor, as it can be very rewarding. For example, two years after the successful transplant the donor and the recipient are allowed to meet. In fact, I have been very lucky in that I have met both of my donors, to whom I will be eternally grateful for their selfless acts of kindness in donating their bone marrow. (For more details on Chronic Myeloid Leukaemias visit www.cmlsupport.org.uk). 

Sadly, Shirley Nolan (mother of Anthony) passed away in July 2002 and it is certainly the case that without her tireless work in setting up the Trust in the 1970's, I would not be here today. 

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