Business News

Past president’s appeal as he prepares for biggest battle

By Jon Griffin

Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and in revolutionary Iran – but now he’s facing the biggest battle of all. The 72-year-old business leader,


whose extraordinary 50-year plus CV includes brushes with Saddam’s murderous family and a spell in Iran as the Shah’s regime was nearing downfall, is grappling with a more difficult adversary than mere Middle East dictators – in the shape of life-threatening leukaemia. The former Birmingham Chamber of Commerce president, a highly visible presence on the West Midland business circuit for decades, has been diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia, with just 30 months to live in the worst possible scenario. Typically, Steve is facing his

personal ordeal head-on, as so often in a business career which saw him working for Iraqi business interests at the height of the Saddam Hussein terror and talking his way out of Iran as the Shah faced oblivion. With daughter Emily a

formidable ally in the campaign to raise public awareness of the crucial need for bone marrow donors, Steve is determined to beat the cancer – and wants to urge others to help save lives. A fitness fanatic who has run

marathons and plays badminton several times a week, the septuagenarian realised something was wrong when he had to pull out of a 3,000 kilometre run in Stratford-upon-Avon. By May last year Steve was given

the brutal truth by specialists at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital – tests on his spine, or the body’s ‘blood factory’ in medical parlance, saw him diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndromes, aka abnormal cells in the bone marrow. Extraordinarily, Steve kept his

nightmare secret from wife Cindy and grown-up children Mark and Emily for months – and only revealed his condition when he needed Cindy to drive him to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for tests. But vital, possibly life-saving,

help is on the horizon. Three potential matches have been identified in the shape of two German males and a Pole – and a life-saving transplant could be on the horizon within weeks.

8 CHAMBERLINK March 2019 Steve Brittan

‘Everybody assumes that donating bone marrow is really painful and you are going to have half your limbs taken away, but it is just going on a register for a mouth swab’

“I am very optimistic. I am not

looking forward to the transplant but I would like it to be as soon as possible. They have found three potential matches which is great news,” says Steve. “There are three chances there,

and you only need one. It (the transplant) should take place in six to eight weeks from the point of the donor being verified. I am likely to be hospitalised for three or four weeks.” Against Steve’s personal

background, the facts and figures concerning stem cell and bone marrow donation tell their own story. Over 2,000 people in the UK are in need of a bone marrow or stem cell transplant every year and 75 per cent of UK patients won’t find a matching donor in their families. Only two per cent of people in the UK are

registered as stem cell donors, with young males aged 16 to 30 the ideal supply pool. Steve’s daughter Emily said:

“Everybody assumes that donating bone marrow is really painful and you are going to have half your limbs taken away, but it is just going on a register for a mouth swab. “Taking away the bone marrow is

done under general anaesthetic and the feeling is as if you have been kicked in the shin. It’s seconds of pain, and you can save somebody’s life.” As he waits for a suitable donor,

Steve is doing what he has always done – keeping himself busy. He is still working two days a week with BSA Tools at Kitts Green, has numerous roles with the Chamber, is an ambassador with Birmingham Airport and South and City College,

Birmingham – as well as helping run Henley Ice Cream. “I am never going to retire. I

cannot imagine walking around a supermarket in the morning pushing a trolley with my wife. I am determined to beat leukaemia.” Steve is being treated at the

Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s Centre for Clinically Haematology, which underwent a major expansion with the help of a £1m fundraising drive from Birmingham charity Cure Leukaemia. Cure Leukaemia’s chief executive

James McLaughlin said: “On behalf of everyone associated with Cure Leukaemia I would like to send Steve our very best wishes and support during this difficult time. “The care and treatment he will

be receiving here in Birmingham in the Centre for Clinical Haematology will be as good as any available in the world and we wish him a full and speedy recovery.”

See for more information.

rominent West Midland industrialist Steve Brittan has battled for business in

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80