Brian: survivor and volunteer

9 April 2014

In November 2011, Brian Baggott from the Isle of Wight, then aged 38, noticed that he was becoming breathless doing simple household chores and walking up small inclines. He went to his GP, who sent him to hospital for blood tests where he was initially told he was very anaemic and had a condition called Aplastic Anaemia. He then underwent a bone marrow biopsy.

When he received the results of his biopsy, his diagnosis had changed to Myelodysplasia and that the only cure for this would be a blood stem cell transplant. He was shortly afterwards told that a perfect blood stem cell donor match had been found in Germany.

With his treatment was booked for that April, he was then told that the Myelodysplasia had developed into Acute Myeloid Leukaemia and he would need to be admitted to hospital.

After all he had been through, Brian found this new development very upsetting: "I am not ashamed to admit that I had a few tears that evening."

He soon commenced chemotherapy and as it worked its way through his body, his blood levels dropped and he was very susceptible to infection: “I did have a few occasions when I spiked a temperature, and on one of those occasions I was put on oxygen as I found it difficult to breathe. A very scary occasion, and I did lie there thinking ‘is this it?’.

Once my blood levels had risen to a satisfactory level, I was told I could go home, but prior to that I would have to have another bone marrow biopsy. After seven weeks in isolation I was allowed to walk out of the hospital and have the feeling of fresh air.

His treatment took place in June 2012, after the blood stem cells were flown over from Germany where his donor lives.

Of his recovery, he says: "I feel very lucky that a donor was found for me so quickly, and the whole experience has changed my view on life. I have become much more charity focused and want to help others. I am currently doing voluntary work at a cancer support centre on the Isle of Wight. I have also become very involved in helping Delete Blood Cancer UK at events including ‘Fight for Finley’ and ‘Team Margot’.