I became involved with Desi Donors when I heard about the journey of Dean Sheikh and his difficulty in finding a bone marrow match. My own journey was thankfully not so difficult and I wanted to share my story with anyone and everyone who ever thought of saving a life, but was scared and confused about the process the pain factor (which is tiny) and generally lack of knowledge as these matters are not really topical within our communities until and unless it happens to a loved one.
I was diagnosed with an acute myeloid leukaemia in February 2006, no one in my family had ever had a cancer or a blood disorder as far back as we could track so it was scary.
I was told I may not survive as my leukaemia had already caused brain haemorrhages and bleeding in other parts of my body, I had six months in hospital with four horrendous doses of chemotherapy before I was told I was in remission. Although I was supposed to be on maintenance chemotherapy for two years my leukaemia relapsed all of a sudden in January 2007.
I then began arsenic based chemotherapy which affected my heart and liver and it was unsuccessful although we tried this treatment persistently for over a year. It worked but this time I was only in remission for around 2.5 months before bone marrow tests confirmed the leukaemia was back. I then was told I would need a bone marrow transplant I was told my siblings had been contacted independently and were tested, my friends, family relatives former students colleagues fellow worshippers had all volunteered to become bone marrow donors and blood donors as by now they had seen me suffer for almost 3 years, finally on the 26th September 2008 I received my bone marrow transplant after another really harsh chemotherapy cycle and total body irradiation at the royal Marsden cancer hospital.
It took me almost a year to recover and a further 4 more months in hospital. I was fine until June 2010 when I was told my leukaemia had come back after my bone marrow transplant. I had further chemotherapy and will continue to have small specific bone marrow transplants called donor lymphocyte transplants and chemotherapy indefinitely. Hopefully I will get better but what I really want to do is let everyone know that when you donate a part of your body you help a person like me whose own body has failed. It is a selfless thing to this is my story and I’m glad I could give you a tiny insight into my journey. I look forward to supporting and endorsing and speaking on behalf of desidonors.
You can find out more about me by visitingwww.najmagani.com
Najma Yasmin – is a survivor of acute promyeloid leukaemia and a recipient of a matched sibling donor transplant (stem cells). She is a writer and a lecturer of science. She lives in London and is a spokesperson for DesiDonors.