EDC Takes On Coast 2 Coast

Five staff from East Durham College; Will Curry, Dominic Hunt, Mark Johnson and Catherine and Stephen Metcalf, will be taking part in the tenth Coast 2 Coast cycle ride to raise money for the charity Diamond Blackfan Anaemia (DBA).

June Kynoch, a Works Placement Officer at East Durham College, started the charity and cycle event 10 years ago, following her grandson being diagnosed with DBA.

June, said: “I started the charity because there was no cure for this awful condition. The money we raise goes towards research and helping to support families with children who suffer from DBA.”

Suffers have to undergo blood transfusions every three weeks and this causes a build up of iron in the body. The iron overload is treated by having a needle inserted into their stomach for 12 hours every night, which feeds a drug into the body that acts as a magnet to reduce the iron when the drug is passed through the body.

June’s grandson Charlie, who is now 11 and lives with his family in Chesterfield, was fortunate that due to new stem cell developments he was able to have a stem cell transplant when he was 6. This has meant since the procedure he has not had to have any further transfusions. However, this was a very complex procedure and not necessarily an option for other suffers.

June’s fantastic efforts have raised over £165,000k to date, from events such as the coast to coast cycle, making and selling cards, holding raffles and using the commission from selling Avon products.

This year the 5 hardy souls will take the traditional C2C route from Whitehaven to Roker, covering a distance of approximately 150 miles. It will take about 8 hours in the saddle for 3 days, from 7th to 9th May.

Steve Metcalf, added: “The team have embarked on a 7 week training programme to prepare for the challenge ahead. Last year we experienced some truly terrible weather, so we are all keeping our fingers crossed for some sunshine! We are privileged to be involved in this event and hope we can raise as much money as possible.”

DBA is a blood condition caused by a failure within the bone marrow. It is characterised by an inability to produce red blood cells (necessary to transport oxygen around the body). It is typically diagnosed before the patients second birthday, with the majority of cases found before 4 months old. The condition is extremely rare, affecting approximately 125 people in the UK and only 600-700 worldwide.

The exact cause is not clear, but the problem appears to be a fault in one of the early steps of red blood cell production. The condition is named after the 2 doctors who first documented cases in the 1930s. Dr. Louis Diamond (the founder of the Haematology/Oncology branch at Children's Hospital in Boston, USA and Dr. Kenneth D. Blackfan (the Chief of the Paediatric Department).