Blood cancer: Woman who missed transplant due to Covid now urgently needs stem cell donor to save her life

Alice Hanagan, 33 was first diagnosed with Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) in December 2019 and went into remission in July 2020. Credit: DKMS

A blood cancer patient from Melton in Leicestershire who relapsed on the same day as testing positive for Covid-19, now needs a stem cell donor to save her life.

Alice Hanagan was first diagnosed with Myeloid Leukaemia in December 2019, and after four rounds of chemotherapy, went into remission in July 2020.

Six months later, the 33 year-old then received the devastating news that her cancer had returned, on the same day she tested positive for Covid-19.

It meant Alice could not leave her room at Kettering General Hospital for 40 days.

To make matters worse, she was told she could not have the transplant she was due to receive last year because she had tested positive for Covid-19.

Alice is desperately searching for a stem cell donor which could be the 'only option' that may save her life. Credit: BPM Media

Alice said: "I was unable to have a transplant last year due to Covid as it was deemed too dangerous."My plans got changed and now looking for a stem cell donor is my only option."

The things I found the hardest (despite the obvious chemotherapy) were not being able to have visitors because of Covid-19 restrictions and not being allowed to leave the room for 40 days at a time.

Alice Hanagan

Alice's search for a donor has been ongoing since doctors said it was her only option in December 2020.The blood cancer charity, Delete Blood Cancer (DKMS), say there are currently no matches for Alice on the worldwide register.

After spotting Alice's social media post about her condition, DKMS have launched a campaign to help her find a match.Alice says, "trying to find a donor is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Apparently, only 0.4 per cent of the world population is registered as a donor.""Basically, what the transplant will do for me is give me a brand new immune system, which should detect and kill any blast (cancer) cells that my body currently isn’t recognising."This is the only hope for me and all I must focus on. Sadly, not everybody who is diagnosed with cancer gets that chance and it could save my life."

There is an urgent need for more potential blood stem cell donors to join the register to help Alice, and the many other people in her position, find their match.

DKMS Spokesperson

Alice says she remains hopeful for the future and wants to raise as much awareness about stem cell donors as possible.She said: "When I'm better, I’d like to complete a 'wolf run' or 'tough mudder' and raise as much money as possible for DKMS, they have raised my profile and given me the platform to create more awareness."The charity say there are currently 2,000 people in the UK searching for a match, and for many, a cell transplant from a matching donor is their only hope of beating blood cancer.Becoming a donor is easy, visit the DKMS website and follow the instructions to sign up.

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