Chris, Team MacmillanPublished: 26 Apr 2021
I’m running as part of Team Macmillan in 2021 for my eldest brother, David.
David was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) in August 2019 in Ningbo, China.
He initially went to hospital with a mosquito bite on his leg that would not heal, and after deteriorating further, it was discovered that the lack of improvement was due to cancer in his blood.
My middle brother and I flew to China a few weeks later and were screened as potential stem cell donors. I was a 100% match on all six DNA counts, so David made plans to fly home in October 2019 to begin preparations for a bone marrow transplant.
Over the following months he was in and out of UCLH and the partner Macmillan Cancer Centre, with the transplant scheduled for the end of April 2020. Unfortunately, the day before David contracted COVID. Macmillan facilitated my part of the transplant and after a 2-day procedure, they froze my stem cells for when his treatment for COVID was completed.
He spent 32 days in the COVID isolation ward at UCLH, and there were 2 times in particular where he deteriorated to the point that we thought he wouldn't make it. However, at around the 25-day mark he started to turn a corner both physically and mentally, and after 3 days drug-free and 3 negative COVID tests, he was discharged.
He spent two weeks out of hospital, then returned to UCLH for his part of the bone marrow transplant. 13 days after the procedure, it was confirmed that he successfully was producing non-cancerous white blood cells from those donated. He was discharged again a week later and has been recovering since, with an aim to be reunited with his family in China as soon as possible.
My stepfather was due to run the London Marathon this year but was diagnosed with prostate cancer six weeks ago. Doctors are confident that they have caught it early and it is localised.
I want to repay the help and gratitude my family owe to charities such as Macmillan. These groups ensure families can work though cancer and save lives, and without them our family would simply not be the same.