So me and my sister Gabrielle are 14 years apart - I'm 28 and she is 14. There are five of us all together, and Gabrielle is the baby of the family. Gabrielle's amazing at making things - things like cheeseboards, planters, photo frames - she's so talented for her age!

When I found out Gabrielle had been diagnosed with aplastic anaemia it was a shock. I was upset at first, and it all felt like a whirlwind as I had never heard of it before. But The Aplastic Anaemia Trust website helped me loads with their PDF downloads on what to expect, what she can expect to see throughout her diagnosis and how things are done such as treatments etc. However my sister, to be honest, is so calm and relaxed. She is just going with it and staying positive, which is amazing! I feel like she's just taken it on the chin and is moving forward with it.

When told we all needed to be tested to see if we were a bone marrow match. It was a scary thought that she even needs a bone marrow transplant - it sounds so serious. Of course, there was no need to ask, we all just went with it and prayed one of us were a match! Our whole family got tested and not one of the six of us were a match, which was upsetting, but we were relived when a non related donor was found in Germany. Sadly this donor has now fallen through, so we're back on the hunt for a match again.

So we went ahead with ATG treatment. Without The AAT's website, I wouldn't even know what this was or how it was given or what to expect before, during and after - having this information really calmed all of our nerves.

How do we support Gabrielle through her treatment?

Honestly, Gabrielle is stronger than all of us put together, but we're always here to support her with whatever she needs. To give some tips: I'd recommend you read all the information on this website as it helps a lot with understanding the whole process. Also when in hospital for treatments, keep their mind busy with painting by numbers! Gabrielle loves to do her schoolwork on her laptop, so she feels she's not falling behind which is great. Just take with them anything they can do while receiving treatment. Just ask them what they would like to do and be open and honest about everything. Talking it all through really helps.

I decided to join The Aplastic Anaemia Trust's Super Rare campaign and raise money for the Trust, because its such a rare disease and one I didn't even know about till January. I wanted to spread the word so more people would become donors for blood and platelets - because it could be anyone's loved one who needs this treatment. The more you can spread awareness, the better it is for so many people!

Gabrielle's treatment made me go and donate blood for the first time, and I've got my second donation booked. I had three people message me to say they went and donated blood because of my awareness-raising, and it made me feel so proud. I made three people think, "You know what, I can do this!"

I fundraised by challenging myself to run 70km in the month of March. I'm an asthmatic so running long distances was always a struggle but I did it - and hit over 80km! My friends and boyfriend did the last run with me followed by a Super Rare party. It was honestly one of the most rewarding things I have done - and I raised £1214. It really helped me keep my head mentally strong. It helped me deal with it a lot better as I was doing it for my sister, and for the charity that had supported us. 

My sister was proud of me for doing my fundraising - one day I'll get her to run with me, whether she likes it or not!

My advice to others who are supporting loved ones through aplastic anaemia...

To those going through this: please don't feel alone. The Aplastic Anaemia Trust has helped massively. With all their leaflets and booklets, it gives you such a good understanding. There are different treatments that are available, so if one isn't successful it's ok, you just need to focus on the next, and the next.

Spread the word, fundraise for the charity on behalf of your loved one going through it, and challenge yourself! It really does help and keeps you on a positive path, for you and for them!

If you have some days when you want to feel sad and confused about it all - let yourself feel that. It's okay to not feel so positive every day. On days you don't feel so great, do something for you, that brings a smile to your face.


My brother or sister has aplastic anaemia - a guide

We are here for you. If your sibling has aplastic anaemia, then our free guide can provide you with some practical information and support. Available to download on our website, or order as a free printed booklet, in three different age ranges:

Ages 17-25