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  1. ITV Report

Transplant recipient: 'I prepared myself for death'

May Brown, left, and her sister Martha Photo: ITV News

A woman from Dorset who was initially denied the chance of a life-saving transplant from her sister after being diagnosed with leukaemia says she had "prepared" herself for death.

May Brown needed a stem cell donation from her sister Martha - who had been denied entry to the UK from Nigeria by the Home Office.

That decision was changed after pressure from campaigners. May is now recovering from her treatment.

May Brown Credit: ITV News

After she was diagnosed with leukaemia, May was told she would only survive if she had a stem cell transplant.

Her sister was the only match but she lives in Nigeria and initially the Home Office refused her a visa.

May said that she had prepared herself and said "that is it."

Late last year, May begged the government to show compassion from her hospital bed.

After an online petition attracted 60,000 signatures, the decision was overturned.

Martha was allowed into the UK and May received the transplant in January.

Martha and May greeting each other at the airport

May suffered two weeks of ill health and excruciating pain before the transplant suddenly began to work.

She said that when the transplant started to work she shouted "I am not in pain, I can feel my body."

The nurse said to May, "Well done, it has grafted properly."

May, left, and her daughter Selina and sister Martha Credit: ITV News

It was her sister who gave her the gift of life, and the belief there would be a happy ending.

Martha said, "Whenever she called me, she would tell me i'm dying, she kept crying."

"I said to her I have this feeling that if I get tested I will be her match."

May says that she doesn't know how that thank her sister for what she has done.

"I don't know what to say to her, I don't know... there is nothing you can say to somebody who saved your life."