Should public figures with CLL declare that they have it? Clive James has no problem doing so

Should public figures with CLL declare that they have it?  Clive James has no problem doing so

There is no doubt that well known people that let the public know that they have a rare condition can do much to educate the wider public about these little known conditions. Doing so can of course have an adverse impact on their career, so we should respect those that wish to keep their condition private while supporting those that are brave enough to share their diagnosis in order to improve support for others that share that condition.

Many will be aware that Clive James, the well known expatriate Australian who made the UK his home, has been open about his CLL and COPD diagnosis.

It is interesting to compare this article from two years ago:

with this recent one:


2 Replies

  • Very inspiring 'conversation'. It's interesting that in a race 'the home stretch' is always the fastest, the bit you save your best for.

  • I really like Clive James and he was one of the first public figures I learned had CLL soon after I was diagnosed. His story and progress featured on the Macmillan site and I've found myself following his declining journey ever since.

    I remember his witty shows and how he introduced the world to the frightful but madly entertaining vocals of Margarita Pracatan as he sat listening appreciatively with that mischievous twinkle in his eye.

    The one thing I find so terribly sad about his story is that he is unable to return to his beloved homeland because of the severe emphysema. Whilst he's made England his home, I sense his heart is still in Australia.

    I think I did gain strength from his bravery in disclosing but I read of many other global public figures who I felt did absolutely the right thing in not disclosing their CLL.

    Sadly it is seen by the ignorant to denote lost strength and vigour and in politics it can be viewed as a weakness. Which is a terrible shame because the people who truly understand and make a difference are those who struggle themselves.

    I read a very interesting article on a well known writer (so well known I've forgotten her name...must be nap time!) but she didn't disclose her CLL to any of her family or friends and when she eventually died they talked of their disappointment and even anger that she hadn't given them the opportunity to be there for her. I think they missed the point really. She gained strength from them being there for her as she wanted to be seen not as the sick person they may have come to see.

    I wish Clive James well because his story did help me to realise anybody and everybody can get this.


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