“Access to plasma protein therapies has allowed me to follow my dream of becoming a champion cyclist."

Alex, living with Hemophilia

“I’m Alex Dowsett, a professional cyclist. I’ve been doing that for 10 years. I am currently riding for team Katusha-Alpecin and I have severe hemophilia. And I’m one of the lucky ones:because of when I was born, where I was born and the treatments that were available to us.

"There wasn’t any history of hemophilia in my family so it was a shock. And Mum and Dad didn’t even know what hemophilia was when I was diagnosed. I was 18 months old when I was diagnosed. Childhood was very interesting because you get a lot of conflicting stories. We were coming out of a period of time when there was no treatment available for hemophilia. So I was one of the first that was on treatment that worked.

"The doctor’s advice to my parents, alongside the treatment, was swimming, and to be fit and healthy. And because of the amount of swimming I was doing, I was very fit and very healthy. So when I started cycling I was fast straightaway. I think all of this is really a nice message. If I didn’t have hemophilia, I probably wouldn’t be racing a bike. It’s about just being able to have the same opportunities as anybody else. 

"And that’s what the treatment, the knowledge and the healthy lifestyle gives you. The opportunities to lead a normal life, just like anybody else. I hear a lot of stories from hemophiliacs and they’re playing football, they’re running. They’re doing more than I did when I was young. And that’s massive. And it’s going to be very soon before a lot more hemophiliacs are at the elite sporting level. 

"If my story can help change the mentalities in a lot of countries, to governments to parents, to every level, then that would be massive.

"I’m incredibly grateful to so many people. I think that there are people that I’ve never met and who I’m not even aware of that I’m grateful to. And the treatment that we have is life-changing. And I don’t use the word ‘life-changing’ lightly. It literally is: if you look at a hemophiliac without treatment and you look at someone like me that has treatment, the difference is massive.”

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