Unfortunately, our family has first-hand experience of what two and a half year old Ella-Rose, her parents, family and loved ones are currently going through.
Ella-Rose’s parents, Nicole & Mark just happen to be one of the more recent families who suddenly, quite out of the blue, find themselves having to appeal for more people to come forward and register as potential stem cell donors. They launched Ella-Rose’s patient appeal whilst simultaneously caring for their young daughter and having to witness the punishing treatment that accompanies the fight against blood cancer, as the medics seek to control the disease. It’s all in the hope that Ella-Rose might have a bone marrow transplant – which in itself is just the start of a life-threatening treatment, but which nevertheless represents her best chance of survival.
Just typing this has me shaking my head as I think back to how desperate we ourselves were, when Margot found herself in a similar situation.
For some inexplicable reason, I always used to think: “it won’t ever happen to me“. I don’t know why. There was certainly no rationale behind me choosing to feel this way, although my instinct was probably begotten from a sense of self-protectionism, along the lines of: “if I don’t think about it, the problem will go away.”
Consequently, “do nothing” was my default position, in the hope that I’d somehow evade all the nasties and beat the odds.
It was only when Margot found herself in such a dire situation and I understood how simple it was for me to potentially save someone’s life and what a small sacrifice that entails, that I began kicking myself and wondering why I hadn’t looked and seen the bigger picture before.
True: I hadn’t ever heard of a bone marrow transplant before Margot was diagnosed with blood cancer, so awareness of this issue had something to do with it (but you’re now reading this blog post so you can’t now fall back on that as an excuse!), but I did know about blood donation and yet in spite of that, I hadn’t ever given blood.
The stark reality is that there will probably come a time when we ourselves, or perhaps those dear to us are affected by a serious illness and when that happens, you quickly realise that there’s a vital reliance on the goodwill of others to provide, for example: blood, stem cells / bone marrow and/or organs.
If you haven’t yet registered as a potential stem cell donor, given blood or joined the organ register, please take it from me that the best way to help safeguard your own well being and your nearest and dearest is for you to do just that. This is especially important if you’re from a BAME (Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic) community, or if you’re mixed race, as was Margot. Tissue type matching is an area where your race and ethnicity really matters.
Only then can we collectively begin to address the problem that Margot faced and Ella-Rose, Hazel and so many others like them are currently facing: that of finding a matching donor.
Together, saving lives
WHAT’S INVOLVED WITH A STEM CELL OR BONE MARROW DONATION:
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A STEM CELL TRANSPLANT & A BONE MARROW TRANSPLANT:
HOW TO REGISTER:
BECOME A BLOOD DONOR: http://www.blood.co.uk
REGISTER AS AN ORGAN DONOR: https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk