Lisa Jackson: My Heartache

Lisa Jackson, 47, from Clacton-on-Sea, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML)in June 2020.

The diagnosis followed a fainting incident at home a few days earlier, when her 17-year-old son found her on the floor. Before that Lisa had been working full-time, exercising and walking regularly, with the only other noticeable sign that something might be wrong being that she easily got out of breath.

After a visit to her GP, she was sent straight to Colchester Hospital for tests, which showed her haemoglobin level was just 45 (compared to a normal level of more like 115-165). As a result, severe anemia was diagnosed as well as AML.

A treatment plan was put together and Lisa was transferred to St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. She received a first cycle of chemotherapy with three further cycles expected as an inpatient. The doctors have mentioned the possibility of Lisa requiring a blood stem cell transplant, so her brother has been tested and is awaiting the results of a possible match.

In the meantime Lisa has been keeping a daily social media blog where she has shared details of the work of DKMS with family and friends. This has led to many of them registering & requesting swab test kits, and one friend has also donated £200 to DKMS to help towards the cost of processing the tests and the associated administration.

Lisa will know whether she needs a blood stem cell transplant by the fourth cycle of chemotherapy. In the meantime she continues to raise awareness of DKMS (who she actually registered with as a potential donor in 2017), so that she and others have the best chance of finding a suitable donor, if and when required. You can continue to follow Lisa's Journey below.

Every 20 minutes, someone is diagnosed with blood cancer. This diagnosis is devastating, and during the corona virus outbreak, it is even more crucial that we do all we can to offer hope to people with blood cancer and blood disorders. We have seen the numbers of people joining the blood stem cell register decline dramatically in recent times, and now, more than ever before, we need you to sign up. For many, a blood stem cell donation is their best chance of recovery and only 30% of people find a match within their family. This means the remainder will need to find an anonymous blood stem cell donor, and that could be you.

Information about registration

Registering as a blood stem cell donor is easy, simply check your eligibility and request your home swab kit. Once you receive the kit, you will need to swab the inside of your cheek, following the instructions on the pack, before sending them back to us. Once we receive your swabs, they are processed in our lab to determine you tissue typing. Your typing is then stored, in an anonymised form, on the global database. This means you can be identified as a match for anyone in the world

A note about Coronavirus

We understand there are lots of worries and concerns around coronavirus and would like to reassure you that it is completely safe to request and send in your swabs.

If you're a match

If you are identified as a match, you will donate in one of two ways. In the majority of cases this is via a process called “Peripheral Blood Stem Cell collection”, which is a little like giving blood. In 10% of cases, the stem cells are taken from your bone marrow, under general anaesthetic. The method of donation is chosen by the patients team based on what is most suitable for them.

Together we will beat blood cancer.

To register as a blood stem cell donor, you need to be between 17-55, in general good health and not registered with another donor centre. To check your eligibility and request your swab kit, follow the link below.

It costs us £40 to register a new donor on the UK stem cell registry. As a charity, we rely on monetary donations from the public to help cover this cost and greatly appreciate any contribution, no matter how big or small.

If you are unable to register as a potential donor, we would be very grateful if you could consider making a contribution towards the cost of a registration.