Jackie needed a donor to save her life. In late 2021 her life was turned upside down when she developed acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). Here she shares her story.
"Hi, my name is Jackie and I’m half British and half Lebanese. I was born in Beirut but have lived in the UK since I was five years old.
In November last year I was diagnosed with ALL and now I need to find a matching donor to donate their blood stem cells to me.
"Whether you have similar parentage to me or not, do think about becoming a donor and click on one of the links below. You could save a life. My life."
If you're aged 16-30, you can apply to join our stem cell register.
I have always led an active and busy life and I just thought that I was a bit run down, but after the diagnosis my life changed overnight. I was immediately put into isolation and aggressive chemotherapy began. After many months of treatment, I am now thankfully in remission and on maintenance drugs, but as with other blood disorders, leukaemia often comes back. My only hope for a sustained recovery and prolonging my life is a blood stem cell transplant.
The prospects of finding a compatible donor if you’re a white European are over 70%, but if you’re of mixed ethnicity like me, the chances are half that - 37% precisely. A two in three chance of survival feels like decent odds but one in three is frighteningly low.
Compatible donors will have to be of similar ethnicity to me but not necessarily the exact same. Sadly, there is a chronic shortage of diverse donors but I know that the right person is out there somewhere. Whatever happens to me, I am also determined to leave a legacy in which people like me, from ethnically diverse heritage, have a better chance of finding a donor.
Whether you have similar parentage to me or not, do think about becoming a donor and click on one of the links below. You could save a life. My life.
Thank you, or as they say in the Lebanon, Shukran ktir."
Update: Jackie was able to have a stem cell transplant and she reached 100 days post-transplant on 9 October. Things are progressing really well for her, she’s getting out of the house every day to go for walks as well as enjoying cooking and seeing friends.
A gift of £5 a month helps build a stem cell register that gives everyone the best chance of survival.
A gift of £10 a month helps lifesaving transplants to happen – giving as many people like Jackie as possible a second chance of life.
A gift of £15 a month could help pay for our umbilical cord collection programme – making little lifesavers of babies only minutes old!
£15 goes a long way to helping our scientists conduct ground-breaking research that will save lives over the next 50 years.
£40 could sign up a new lifesaving stem cell donor who could go on to save a life like Jackie's.
£90 could pay for three hours of invaluable support from a post-transplant nurse for patients and families.