A student with a rare blood disorder is hunting for a bone marrow donor match among fellow undergraduates – before she develops LEUKAEMIA.
The fate of Alice Byron, 20, now lies in the hands of a complete stranger after she was diagnosed with the illness that causes a drop in healthy blood cells.
Despite none of her family being a match, medics have told the third year student that her one of her peers at Cardiff University could give her a life-saving bone marrow transplant.
Now she is appealing for help from fellow undergraduates who are more likely to be a match.
Alice said: “It took a long time to register that this was going to affect my future.
“I was convinced it would be easily treatable and have little impact on my life, but that isn’t the case.
“It feels like I have to put my life on hold for now. Putting my ambitions and the normal hopes and dreams of a young person aside has been really hard to come to terms with.”
The English student first began feeling ill over the summer, but put it down to fatigue, and didn’t want to bother her doctor.
But Alice got a wake-up call when she suddenly fell ill at the shops in June and immediately booked herself in for a blood test.
Speaking to student newspaper, The Tab, she said: “I didn’t go to my GP because I didn’t want to bother them, but one day I went shopping and I was sick everywhere.
“I was so humiliated and embarrassed. I knew something was wrong and went to the doctors as I just didn’t feel like myself.”
Doctors initially thought Alice, from Oxfordshire, could have anaemia, but a blood test proved she had a blood disorder called myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) which was very likely to develop into acute myeloid leukaemia.
Her best hope of a long term cure is to have a bone marrow transplant, but neither of Alice’s two siblings Hugo, 18 or Isobel, 15, were a match, so she is relying on a match to come up through the Anthony Nolan register.
Anthony Nolan have published statistics which show that one in four bone marrow donors university student volunteer groups called “Marrow” groups.
In the last two years, student donors have given 227 strangers the chance of life by donating, according to the charity.
As well as appealing for help from fellow students, Alice has asked all of her friends to sign up to the register, and is pinning all her hopes on a successful match being found.
She has been transferred to the Heath Hospital to continue her treatment to allow her to carry on her studies at university.
She said: “What I’m finding really difficult is how all my friends and people on my course are thinking about normal things all the time, like dissertations and nights out.
“A lot of the time all I can think about is am I being overly paranoid or do I feel worse today?
“What if I’m getting leukaemia and no one has noticed yet?”