Tag Archives: Cancer Treatment


Eamon Leonard sez:

I know you don’t normal do this, but maybe one of the Broadsheet readers could be a match for Nikki (above)?

Hello everyone,

My name is Nikki and I’m making a global appeal to find a stem cell donor for a bone marrow transplant. I live in the UK, I’m 45 years old and my husband and I have two children, aged 7 and 4.

I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia on 3 December 2013. In January 2014 I was told that my disease has a rare cytogenetic abnormality called the ten-eleven translocation, which put me at a high risk of relapse following chemotherapy.

Therefore my best chance of a cure is to have a bone marrow transplant. This was originally scheduled for April 2014 but things have now become very complicated.

As I’ve gone through this journey, more and more complications have arisen.

Firstly, my ethnic background: my wonderful parents are quite an exotic mix: my mother is Anglo-Burmese and my father is Irish. In bone marrow transplants, ethnicity really matters and when you belong to a relatively rare grouping like this, your chances of finding a donor can be quite low.

Sadly, although both my brothers leapt into the breach to offer themselves as donors, they don’t match me (it’s only a one in four chance for siblings to be a match). However, a donor was found in France who was a 9/10 match and we thought all was well.

But now we get to the final complication: I have a lot of extremely aggressive antibodies. This was discovered during the final matching test of my blood with the donor’s.

The wonderful transplant team at King’s College Hospital in London have tried to find donated umbilical cords which will match with me, but there aren’t any that match that would also get past the antibodies. So I’m stuck.

I found out  that the relapse has happened and my best hope for the long term is to find a 10/10 donor.

I am desperately seeking
people of a similar ethnic background to volunteer as potential stem cell donors through their national registry. The best chance is probably to find someone Anglo-Burmese and Irish, but it could be Anglo-Indian, or any Anglo-Asian mix – my consultant told me to try to get as many people as possible to sign up! Anyone in particular with a Portuguese type surname in their blood line would be a good possibility, as that’s my background.

In the UK, this can be with the Anthony Nolan Trust for those aged 16-30, with Delete Blood Cancer or with the British Bone Marrow Registry. Outside the UK, please see the list of Bone Marrow Registers.

Nikki’s story


Further to  the confirmation by Minister for Health James Relly (above) that medical card holders who have cancer will lose their card unless they have a written note from their doctor saying the condition is terminal.

Dermot Bohan writes:

I would be much appreciated if you brought some attention to these new developments concerning cancer patients and the medical card on broadsheet.ie in case it goes under the radar with all the press coverage the abortion debate is getting at the moment.

I am literally shaking with rage after reading these articles.

I watched my father fight and ultimately lose a battle with cancer over a number of years and one of the feelings I remember was thinking that at least we’re not alone in this and the state actually cares.

To see the horrible effect that the treatment, let alone the disease itself, has on the sufferer is horrendous. After receiving chemo treatment, the patient can barely move, with all energy knocked out of them, they need to focus all their available energy on fighting this disease without the added worry of having to raise the funds to pay for all the treatment and medicines. As you can imagine, it would be very easy to give in and give up under these circumstances.

Now the government is saying that unless there is absolutely no hope for you, don’t come calling. For me, this is truly a move that has crossed a line today. Words can not describe the contempt I am feeling for those in power right now.


Non-terminal cancer patients may lose medical cards (By Fiachra Ó CionnaithIrish Examiner)

(James Horan/Photocall Ireland)