Briercliffe dad (42) back at work after beating leukaemia

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A BURNLEY businessman whose battle with leukaemia saw him come within five days of dying is back running his company.

Nik Ralph (42), owner of Briercliffe Carpets, was diagnosed with acute myloma leukaemia in June 2011.

He was taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital after complaining of feeling ill for a couple of weeks but on arrival was rushed to Christie Hospital, Manchester, and placed in critical care.

He has since undergone two years of extensive treatment, including a bone marrow transplant in September 2011, and is only now starting his get his life back on track.

“I’d put myself to bed for two weeks before I went to the hospital because I just thought I was ill. They told me that if I’d have stayed there for another five days I would have died. My white blood cell count was 650. It should be between eight and 14. It never even crossed my mind how ill I was. It was only after 12 months when I realised just how bad it was. When I went for the transplant they told me I should make out my will and get my affairs in order because there was only a 30% chance I’d make it. I actually cancelled the transplant because I didn’t want to take that risk, but then they told me that if I didn’t have it there was a 95% chance I’d be dead in a year.”

He was forced to relinquish control of the firm while undergoing his treatment but the person who took his place left in December, meaning Nik, who lives in Reedley, has returned to work a few weeks ahead of schedule.

“It’s really good to be back,” he said. “There is only so much garbage daytime TV you can watch. The business is doing well and I’m able to do most of the things I was doing before. Obviously I’m getting tired easily and I’m not able to do much when I get back from work but I’m getting there.”

Nik is still undergoing treatment at Christies every fortnight but is hoping that within 18 months he will be back to full strength.

“The staff at Christies have been amazing, you just couldn’t say enough about them. They were incredible. Pendleside Hospice as well because they helped with my care afterwards also.”

There is one more person Nik is also hoping to be able to say thank you to.

“You’re not allowed to actually meet your donor until two years after the transplant so I’m hoping I’ll be able to meet mine in September and say a big thank you. I think my mum and my wife will want to give him a big hug as well.”