Dawn Thompson on moving from City to charity

The celebrity manager of Bloodwise reveals her motivation behind working for the leukaemia charity

< This article has been amended - see final paragraph

After training as a lawyer, I spent more than 10 years at Lehman Brothers working for the capital markets team. I talked to corporations and finance ministers, travelled two or three times a week, and spent six weeks a year in New York.

It was exciting, but my husband and I didn't see a great deal of each other and I realised I was paying a high price. After I had two children I realised the job was difficult to do part time and I had lost interest in it.

I started teaching French, but I was offered at job with Bloodwise, then called the Leukaemia Research Fund. My sister Karen, five years older than me, was diagnosed with leukaemia when I was doing my A levels. She was given six months to live but survived another nine years.

Dad worked for the TV Times and in 1982 he persuaded a group of stars to run the London Marathon for the charity - the first time a charity had had celebrities in the race. It was supposed to be a one-off, but the idea stuck and now it's something many charities do.

Initially I joined the corporate team, but as my dad was getting older I took on what he had been doing as a volunteer on a paid basis. Having the support of some fantastic TV, film and sports stars makes a huge difference because they raise awareness as well as money.

It's been a circuitous route to where I am, but I really enjoy it. We couldn't do much for my sister, but at least we can do this. If she were diagnosed today, they'd be able to treat that kind of leukaemia, which shows how important research is.

Dawn Thompson is celebrity manager at the leukaemia charity Bloodwise

< The original article said that Dawn Thompson's sister Karen had survived for nine months after being diagnosed with leukaemia but actually she survived another nine years.


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