My dad saved my life by donating his stem cells
During Chloe’s treatment for acute myeloid leukaemia, she needed a vital stem cell transplant to restore her bone marrow.
During the pandemic, I was feeling constantly shattered. I started getting breathless when I was taking my dog for a walk and kept having to stop. I was also getting pains in my legs while working out.
I got a GP appointment, but it was via a video call, so they couldn’t examine me. They said that it was likely to be a viral infection. I took the next day off sick, and I fainted while walking from my living room to my kitchen. We managed to get them to do a blood test after that.
At 5pm I got a call from the doctors telling me to go to my local hospital. They told me that I had acute myeloid leukaemia and that it was quite advanced. I told the nurse that she had my results wrong and that she needed to test me again. I completely lost it and started shouting and swearing.
I was told that I’d need to stay in hospital for a long time because my blood and platelets were dangerously low.
My Teenage Cancer Trust Outreach Nurse Maureen was really good and specialised in working with people my age. It was nice to talk to someone who I didn’t know that well at the beginning and who had no expectations of me. It was great that I was able to let that off my chest with Maureen and she was able to reassure me.
Because of Covid-19, my mum stayed with me in hospital for the whole six weeks, otherwise she wouldn’t have been able to see me at all.
I was so overwhelmed when I found out my dad was a match and was willing to donate his stem cells for me.
After my first round of chemotherapy, I was told that I’d need to have a stem cell transplant. I was so overwhelmed when I found out my dad was a match and was willing to donate his stem cells for me. It was such an amazing feeling knowing my dad was a match. I would like to say a massive thank you to my dad for donating his cells. I am forever grateful to him for donating his stem cells to me and saving my life.
I was really sick with the chemo after my transplant, which meant I couldn’t spend Father’s Day with him. I missed him lots, but we Facetimed each other.
Because I was so ill, I couldn’t keep food or water down and had to have a feeding tube. I had mucositis which meant I was unable to speak or swallow. I also had a lot of water retention and looked like a big blob so was given tablets to make me go to the toilet. The whites of my eyes were yellow.
I was really weak and couldn’t stand for long, so she had to help me to the shower. I had no energy, so I had to sit down after the shower to dry myself and then take a break before applying cream to my sore skin. We watched a lot of Netflix, did crosswords and colouring to pass the time.
Once I was feeling a bit better, I found it challenging to be stuck on the same room for so long, but I am so grateful for having my mum there as I don’t know if I would have got through it without her supporting me and keeping me upbeat.
After being in hospital for months, I started back at university and have almost finished my second year. Maureen still checks in on me to see how I am and is really supportive of me completing my university course. If it hadn’t been for her, I wouldn’t have been able to stay as positive.
Chloe’s dad, Kevin, says: “Finding out I was a match was an amazing feeling. With Chloe being an only child, it meant it was harder to get a match.
“The donation process was carried out at SNBTS Clinical Apheresis Unit at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre in Glasgow over two days. The staff were amazing from start to finish in all aspects of the process. Chloe received her transplant in ward 4B at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow. All the staff were truly amazing and went over and above to help her and her mum. We really appreciate all their hard work and effort which they all put into their jobs and as a family we will always be thankful for the care which they gave Chloe.”