I am raising money for the Aplastic Anaemia trust in Loving Memory of Malcolm John Cowan who sadly passed away on the 3rd June 2019 due to ecoli sepsis and multiple organ failure. Malc played a great part in my life and was like a father figure to me. He will be greatly missed by myself, Mum, all of our family and Malc’s friends. He always supported my running and I am going to be running the Great West Run on the 13th October in Exeter to raise money to help fight this terrible illness.

Malcolm suffered from aplastic anaemia for 5 years. AA is a rare bone disorder where the bone marrow is unable to produce new blood cells (Red blood cells, White blood cells and Platelets). Malcolm’s consultant in Taunton monitored him very closely and he was on a medication called cyclosporine, in alternative to a Bone Marrow Transplant due to his age of 66 when diagnosed. The medication allowed his platelet and neutrophil count to increase, preventing the risk of internal bleeding and increased his innate immune system. Throughout the last 5 years Malc suffered from many chest infections and pneumonia due to his low WBC counts and the cyclosporine being a potent immunosuppressive agent, which he was able to fight off with a course of antibiotics.

At the beginning of May this year Malc was admitted into the Intensive Care Unit in Barnstaple and was put into an induced coma due to his organs beginning to fail (cardiovascular, respiratory and renal) and was therefore put on a ventilation machine, haemodialysis and fed through a nasogastric tube. Malc was in the Intensive Care Unit for 4 weeks where they identified e coli sepsis, pneumonia and colitis causing candida in the blood. Due to Malc’s condition, Aplastic Anaemia, he had to stop his medication as soon as he got into hospital, cyclosporine, due to it being a potent immunosuppressive agent. This caused Malcolm’s red blood cells and platelets to drop. He was infused with blood and platelets throughout his time in the ICU but in the fourth week Malc started to decline again. The microbiologist found other fungi accumulating on his lungs and fluid. Due to his platelets being so low the consultant did not want to put in a drain to take off the fluid due to the risk of internal bleeding, however his platelets went up to 55 so they were able to take off 1.4L of fluid off his lungs. The next day his platelets dropped again so the drain was taken off. This made it so much harder for Malc to breathe and his ventilation machine was up to 70% FiO2 when there is only 21% O2 that we breathe in the air. The Consultants and Doctors said that there was no more that they could do for our poor Malcolm and decided for the welfare of Malc to turn the ventilation down to 21%, which within a minute he sadly passed away with us all by his side. Malc will forever be in our hearts and a huge hole has been left in our family.

The Aplastic Anaemia Trust is a great charity with a mission to conduct vital research into the causes of aplastic anaemia and rare bone marrow failure in order to find a cure so people can lead a healthy and fulfilled life. In 1980 only 3 in 10 patients survived aplastic anaemia. Thanks to the Aplastic Anaemia Trust, 8 in 10 patients will survive the devastating effects of aplastic anaemia. I would love to be able to raise money to further the charity's mission and hopefully increase the life expectancy for individuals diagnosed with this disorder.

Amie Walker