My name is Richard Tate and I’d like to share my story with you. I’m an 83-year-old actor from Liverpool with three children. When I was in my sixties, I was diagnosed with leukaemia.

In June 2000, I was busy performing in ‘The Lighthouse Keepers Lunch’ at the Oxford Playhouse. I started to feel unwell and l just knew something wasn’t right.

I started getting night sweats, and feeling incredibly tired. At the end of every performance I’d just go back home and get straight into bed – I didn’t want to eat or do anything. In July, I went to my GP for a blood test.

I was so shocked when my results showed I had chronic myeloid leukaemia. At the time, treatment options were very limited, and I was devastated when I was told that I only had around three years left.

The word leukaemia – it just had a terrifying effect on me. Back then it was one of those things that was always mentioned in films, books, or TV shows, but it never had a happy ending.

At first there was nothing that could be done so I tried to keep working, whilst my daughter Vicky looked into potential treatments.

She saw that there were clinical trials happening in Newcastle and Hammersmith, under a man called Professor John Goldman, for this new drug that would eventually become Imatinib.
She convinced West Middlesex to transfer me to Hammersmith for treatment. I remember feeling like I had the ‘sword of Damocles’ hanging over my head.

Professor John Goldman changed my life. He was a pioneering haematologist, oncologist and medical researcher, and one of the founders of the charity Leuka – which would eventually become Leukaemia UK.

Fortunately, Dr Goldman’s treatments were successful, and in August 2014 he told me told that I was officially in remission. It’s thanks to him that I’m here telling you my story.

The feeling of relief was huge – but remission is never the end of the story. It’s not the magical, bell-ringing moment you expect, because there’s always part of you wondering if it will come back.
In 2023, leukaemia did come back into my life – but thankfully, not in the form of a diagnosis. When my agent asked if I’d be interested in playing one of the lead roles in a new advert for Leukaemia UK, I said of course! It was a great experience and it feels good to give back.

Watch the advert

The advert is a touching reminder that leaving a gift in your Will to Leukaemia UK is an amazing thing to do. I’ve seen first-hand how important research and clinical trials are in saving lives. I believe research is the lifeblood of progress.

I hope you will take the time to watch the advert – and that you like it as much as I do.

Best wishes for the festive season.