Transplant donor has given her sister hope

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A YOUNG woman fighting cancer has been told a cell stem transplant from her sister seems to have been accepted by her body.

Heather Parkinson, 28, has been battling against Hodgkin’s Lymphoma which chemotherapy was failing to treat.

After months of gruelling treatment, intensive and super-strong chemotherapy finally managed to kill off enough of her cancer for her to undergo a transplant from her sister Shelley Watson, 30, from Preesall.

Since the transplant, Heather has been extremely poorly, as her body had no immunity, leaving her exhausted and susceptible to infections.

However, Heather has now been given a glimmer of hope, as the results of a bone marrow test have shown the new cells are where they should be in her bone marrow, and will hopefully create a new immune system for her.

Heather has described how she is still extremely tired, and is slowly seeing improvements every day.

She said: “My bone marrow is creating blood cells, but as yet I still don’t have any immune system at all.

“It is all very complicated. I asked the doctor when can I say I’m recovering, and he couldn’t give an answer. He just told me they had to keep doing tests to make sure the transplant has worked.

“I am visiting the Christie Hospital in Manchester for tests every week, and will have to do so for months, and that is very tiring.

“I am feeling well, apart from feeling so exhausted all the time.

“I am sleeping for around 15 hours a day, but still feel tired.

“But the doctors have told me that this is quite normal after a transplant. I am only allowed to drive short distances at the moment, too, due to lack of concentration.

“I am still on all my medication including anti-rejection drugs.

“Every week I feel a tiny bit stronger, but I know it is going to take months to start feeling normal again.”

Heather was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 19, after suffering from a cough which wouldn’t go away.

Chemotherapy beat the disease, but two years ago she discovered a lump in her neck, and tests revealed the cancer had returned.

However, this time it failed to respond to chemotherapy.

Heather initially needed a trial cancer treatment, which the primary care trust refused to fund.

However well-wishers raised the £3,000 Heather needed for the trial treatment at London’s Royal Free Hospital.