Emotional moment teen cancer survivor meets life-saving Glasgow donorIvy Madziva
Emotional moment teen cancer survivor meets life-saving Glasgow donor.
Becca Anderson with her ‘lifesaver’ donor Susan Fullerton
A CANCER survivor has described the “overwhelming” moment she met the woman who saved her life when she was 18 and both women simultaneously burst into tears.
Becca Anderson, 28, received a stem cell transplant from an anonymous donor – Susan Fullerton – just weeks after Susan had signed up to the national register.
Susan had a very personal reason for becoming a donor. Her own mother Shona died seven months after she was told she had Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
Becca was told by doctors that a transplant was the only way she could be cured because there was a high chance her leukaemia would relapse after treatment.
Patients and donors must remain anonymous for two years after a transplant takes place but can get in touch if both
After this time, a meeting can be arranged by the Anthony Nolan charity if both recipient and donor wish it go ahead.
Amazingly, in September, almost nine years after Becca’s transplant both Becca and Susan contacted Anthony Nolan within a few days of each other.
The pair met for an emotionally charged lunch in Newcastle, close to South Shields where Becca lives.
Becca, who now works as cabin crew for Virgin Atlantic, was diagnosed with leukaemia in May 2010.
She said: “Without Susan I genuinely wouldn’t be here.
“I see so many people not getting matches and I just think, “wow, how lucky was I?”
“I just remember saying “I’m going to die. I’m going to die.”
“Meeting her was like meeting a friend. It was like a strange blind date that you just knew was going to work out.
“We both just burst into tears and stood hugging each other, was so surreal.”
Susan joined the Anthony Nolan stem cell register in April 2010, seven years after her mother passed away.
She said: “My flatmate at the time, Shona, encouraged me to make a difference and to help people like my mum.
“I wanted to spread the word about joining the register, which also made me think about getting in contact with Becca. I spoke to Anthony Nolan and in an amazing coincidence Becca had contacted the charity at the same time, to say that she wanted to be put in touch with me.”
Nine out of ten stem cell donors donate via PBSC, which is a simple outpatient procedure similar to giving blood. For one in ten people, like Susan, stem cells are taken from the bone marrow in their pelvis, under general anaesthetic.
Becca and Susan now plan on staying in touch and will meet each other’s families next month.
Henny Braund, Chief Executive of Anthony Nolan says: ‘It’s fantastic to see Becca living her life to the full and Susan should be incredibly proud of the difference she has made to Becca and her family.
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