Simon Thomas fights back tears as he begs This Morning viewers to screen for blood cancer that killed his wife
18 September 2019, 11:50 | Updated: 4 November 2019, 14:59
The presenter opened up on today's show and urged viewers to get themselves checked for blood cancer.
Simon Thomas appeared on This Morning in a bid to raise awareness of different blood cancers, following his wife's short battle in 2017.
The former Blue Peter presenter joined Dr Zoe, Holly Willougby and Phillip Schofield in a segment on recognising blood cancer symptoms, and revealed: "it kills more than breast or prostate cancer".
The 44-year-old urged that there need to be more awareness of different kinds of blood cancer, as "when you look at the stats it's frightening".
He continued to explain that there are lots of different posters in the mens toilets to raise awareness for prostate and testicular cancer, but there isn't enough for blood cancer: "only one in 10 adults can confidently recognise one symptom of blood cancer".
Simon lost his wife Gemma in 2017 after a battle with acute myeloid leukaemia and admitted he wished he was aware of the symptoms sooner, as they were "so obvious when I look back".
The star fought back tears as he shared that Gemma had a "big bruise on her thigh" which had been there for weeks, and "that's one of the telltale signs".
The different symptoms for blood cancers can vary a lot, but according to Simon a lot of them are "quite normal" and easy to dismiss.
He said: "Every morning I do an Instagram live highlighting these symptoms; weight loss, headaches that keep occuring, breathlessness and so on,
"They’re quite normal symptoms but if you cant explain why you have them please go to your doctor."
Simon, who is also a president of Bloodwise, a charity that funds research into blood cancer and support to those affected, added that he's had a lot of feedback about sharing the symptoms.
Some have commented back telling him they wish they'd known the symptoms sooner, but that: "some people have said they’re so glad they know about this."
As part of a Bloodwise 30 day challenge, Simon is doing a different task every day and today it was being set by This Morning.
Holly and Phill let Simon know that there was a motorbike waiting for him outside the studio to take him to donate some blood.
They gave him a helmet live on air and told him to get on the bike and whizz off, to which Simon obliged happily and said "I haven't donated in about 20 years!'.
Doctor Zoe went on to explain a bit more about blood cancer and its symptoms: "Diffrent symptoms can be quite vague, similar to those of anaemia and other conditions.
"Fevers, night sweats, rashes, weight loss, bruising easily et cetera.
"If you’ve got a good collection of symptoms and can’t explain why they arent going away, you should go to your GP."