11 January 2018
Every year, more than 2,000 people in the UK and 37,000 people worldwide are in need of a blood stem cell donation from an unrelated person. Jackie was one of these people.
Fortunately a 10/10 match was found for her and she had a successful blood stem cell transplant three-and-a-half years ago. Jackie has now kindly shared the story about her fight against acute myeloid leukaemia.
“Early in 2014 I developed a cough that wouldn't go away. Early February 2014 I had a blood test that showed very low levels of white blood cells and I was sent to Accidents and Emergency where they diagnosed me with acute myeloid leukaemia, AML. I was lucky that the mutation I had could be fought with a stem cell transplantation, SCT.
But to me, I only knew I had leukaemia.
I asked two questions once my chemo therapy started. One, would my hair fall out (YES) and two, would I live (We don't know).
Jackie after the first round of chemotherapy.
From that day I fought. Everyday was a challenge but I set small steps on each round of chemo and after the first round I went into remission.
For me it was a sign that I had to continue the fight and I marked down the days until I would get home. In June, they found a blood stem cell donor who was a 10/10 match. My younger sister was not a match and my twin sister too much of a match but the doctors said she was the get out of jail card.
Just in case I relapsed.
The scariest thing was the meeting preparing me for the SCT. The house had to be cleaned from top to bottom, all animals, plants and carpets removed.
I had my SCT in France and the rules were so much stricter than the UK. Although I did farm out the plants carpets and dogs stayed.
I struggled for two weeks with mouth ulcers and pneumonia but the doctors were brilliant and I kept a diary just marking the positives.
I used the Macmillan site and the people on the SCT page were brilliant. I shared my joys (when the 100 days were up) and my frustrations (no dippy eggs).
I no longer worry about planning ahead and have enjoyed our holiday of a lifetime. Life is too short to worry.
"Thank you all the donors that allow people like me to have a life.”
We are so happy to hear that you are doing well now Jackie and soon will celebrate your 4th post-stem-cell-transplant anniversary. Thank you for sharing your inspiring story. You are a first class soldier in the fight against blood cancer!
Inspired by Jackie’s story and keen to go on standby to save the life of someone like her? If you are in good health and aged between 17 and 55, register as a potential blood stem cell donor.