As a 40 something father to 2 and husband to 1 I was diagnosed with Aplastic Anaemia in 2017.

Aplastic Anaemia is a serious and potentially fatal Bone Marrow Disease that is very rare and still little understood. There are only a few treatment options and not all of them are suitable to all sufferers. Fortunately, I was able to have a bone marrow transplant in March 2018 and this has given me a great second chance at life. 

The diagnosis 

My journey to diagnosis is one that will be familiar to plenty of AA sufferers. We knew something was not right with how tired I was and how I kept getting marks on my body, but we kept on with life and pushed the thoughts that something needed to be checked to the back of our minds. After all I lived a very busy life, balancing work all over the country and often Europe with family life and hobbies – who wouldn’t be tired?! As for the marks on my body, I have always been accident-prone so those could easily be explained away.

After a holiday that saw no improvement in my levels of fatigue and an increase in bruises and marks my wife finally made the decision for me and ensured that an appointment was booked. From that point everything was very quick. I had a blood test at the local hospital on the afternoon after my appointment – it would hopefully mean I could get the results sooner. We went to pick the children up from my parents and walked through the door to the phone ringing – I had to go straight back to hospital and be checked in immediately.

That was the start of my first stay – 10 days – when I found out that my platelets had dropped to 18 and I quite possibly had a serious bone marrow disease. My local hospital were brilliant, but they did not have the equipment or resources to fully diagnose my condition. Fortunately the head of haematology had previously worked for Professor Mufti at King's in London and asked for them to see me.

Normality goes out of the window!

As I waited for my diagnosis my condition worsened and I relied on blood and platelet transfusions at least once a week. Normal life with my children felt further and further away each week and I struggled to understand what was happening to me. Diagnosis bought me a boost – yes, I had a serious and potentially fatal disease, but I knew what it was and there was a plan. For me, the team at King's felt that a bone marrow transplant (BMT) was my only option and straightaway the team started to look for a match. My sister was a full 10/10, however they were concerned with my family history and decided a matched unrelated donor was a better option.

Over the next few months I caught several bugs and was admitted to my local hospital through A&E to receive IV antibiotics – my neutrophils were almost 0 and my body could not fight off infections on its own. After one of these visits I had an appointment in London when it was decided there and then that the BMT would be accelerated and I would be booked in as soon as possible.

It’s just mind blowing to think someone we have never met is preparing themselves tonight to donate their stem cells to give you your health and life back… you’re both super heroes

The cure

I had my bone marrow transplant in March this year and I cannot describe in enough words what a difference it has made to me. I honestly do not know a time when I have felt better than I do now. I am still on the road to recovery but I am managing to live a full and happy life, free from transfusions, and managing to be a father and husband once again. The diagnosis of, and journey through AA can at times feel quite daunting, but there are successful treatments available and life post AA feels better than life ever has before.

Throughout the past year my family and I have been supported by a great community of people through the Aplastic Anaemia Trust and as my health improves I want to do all I can to support them and drive their cause forward. The Aplastic Anaemia Trust is a charity that aims to support everybody affected by Aplastic Anaemia and allied rare bone marrow failures whilst funding research into finding new cures.