Leukaemia And Late Effects

September is ‘Blood Cancer Awareness Month’. This year, Bloodwise are shining a spotlight on the need to reduce long term side effects from childhood blood cancers and the only way to do this is to invest in lifesaving research.

Not everyone is aware that blood cancer is the most common form of cancer in people under the age of 30. My story began back in January 1998.

In 1998, I was on holiday with my family in America and I showed signs of a distended stomach – I looked like a pregnant five year old! My parents took me to my local GP in order get it checked out, thinking it was likely to be a prolonged stomach bug. Luckily, my GP realised that this was not just a stomach bug and he referred me to a local hospital who ran some tests.

January 1998 – Diagnosis

I was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia in June 1998. This type of blood cancer is most common in 40-60 year old adults and usually only two children on average are diagnosed with it each year. In the 13 years my Paediatric Haematologist looked after me, she never had another patient with the same condition as mine and to this day, I have never met another person who has had or knows someone who has had, CML diagnosed under the age of 10.

I don’t remember the day I was diagnosed, I just remember being with my mum and my dad being informed over the phone shortly after my appointment. I was referred to Barts Hospital in London who had more resources to find out what was going on and what the options were. I was told the only chance of survival would be from a successful bone marrow transplant within a year of my diagnosis.

My family were tested to see if they would be a related bone marrow match. However, none of them were a match for me, not even my sister. We had to turn to the option of an unrelated bone marrow donor and start a lengthy process of searching the bone marrow registers for a match, with the support of Anthony Nolan.

Even though it was over 16 years ago, I still remember my time at Barts. I even met Carole Vorderman whilst I was there!

My parents held a recruitment event in December of 1998 and recruited 80 people to the Anthony Nolan

Source:: The Huffington Post – UK Lifestyle

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