‘Dippy hippy’ Green candidate in Brighton by-election says running a business while ill with leukaemia highlighted her fight and strength
The “dippy hippy” Green candidate in the East Brighton by-election tomorrow (Thursday 4 August) said that running her old business while ill with leukaemia highlighted her fight and strength.
Mitch Alexander said: “Upon seeing photos of me on the election leaflet, I have heard that a few people have commented that I look a bit ‘dippy hippy’.
“And yes, I often wear my hair in plaits and currently sport a dragonfly tattoo on my upper rib cage. I may like to recycle and I care a lot about the natural environment and I like nothing better than to see a field of wildflowers but I also have a very strong fighting side to me.
“I am the only female candidate out of six candidates which is a story in itself really.
“But I also have a personal story to tell and one which a lot of people I work with do not know about.
“Ten years ago I had three young children and was running my own small business in the North Laine – Yummies, the baby shop – when I suddenly developed acute myeloid leukemia. I spent the next five months in an isolated hospital room having very heavy duty chemotherapy.
“I carried on running my shop from my hospital bed. I was not going to give up my normal way of life just because I was unable to leave my room.
“I left hospital with my cancer gone. A year later it returned. This time it was crucial that I have a bone marrow transplant but the problem was that I had no match on the worldwide donor register.
“During the next few months in hospital having yet more chemotherapy I ended up in intensive care for two weeks with double pneumonia.
“The doctors told my husband that it was most likely that I would die as I was so ill. My children had to be prepared for the worse.
“There was no way though that I was ready to go. I could not even walk for a while as my leg muscles had become so weak. I did pull through and I got back my strength but I still had to have a transplant in order to survive long term.
“A new type of transplant had started to be performed in King’s College Hospital in London. Rather than using an adult donor, the stem cells could be taken from a donated umbilical cord that was at least a 75 per cent match (adult donors have to be nearly 100 per cent).
“I went up to London and had a transplant using the stem cells from an umbilical cord that had been donated in Germany.
“The transplant worked and I survived and my cancer has never returned. I am still the only adult survivor of this type of transplant in Sussex and apparently they no longer perform this type of transplant on adults as sadly the patient usually ends up dying within a year from transplant complications.
“So you see, I may look a little hippy dippy but I am a fighter and my determination to survive and continue to live life to the fullest is very evident in my story.
“My transplant was eight years ago and I am now in very good health and I work now to help others in the community to also strive for the best life that they can have – whether this means having better bus services, saving GP surgeries, affordable access to the arts, nicer looking parks, etc.
“I am working towards care of the environment as it is not only a global issue but it is a community issue too and every little thing that we do helps towards ensuring that our grandchildren can continue to enjoy our beautiful planet too.
“I also am driven by social justice issues and I believe that everyone no matter their income, race, sexuality or gender has an equal right to a life of positive opportunities.
“In my ideal world public transport, healthcare and all education would be free and we wouldn’t have this massive gap between those with wealth and those in poverty, 16-year-olds would have a right to vote, much more affordable social housing would be built to allow everyone to have a decent standard of home, rents would be capped to stop landlords overcharging tenants and everyone adult would receive a basic income to get rid of mass poverty and enable people to spend less hours working thus creating more jobs and allow people to spend more time volunteering in their communities.”
Ms Alexander has been joined on the doorstep by the Green MP for Brighton pavilion, Caroline Lucas.
She recognises that, while East Brighton is regarded as a safe Labour ward, the recent turmoil in the party could offer her an opportunity to cause a by-election upset.
The other five candidates are
- Andrew England, Liberal Democrat
- Leigh Farrow, UK Independence Party (UKIP)
- David Plant, Conservative
- Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Labour
- Ramon David Sammut, Independent
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