Ipswich woman’s amazing recovery

A 21-YEAR-OLD woman from Ipswich, who suffered a life threatening illness, was the special guest of honour to unveil a prestigious plaque at the hospital where she was treated.

Daisy Turner says that every moment is precious now after she came close to death two years ago and has immense gratitude for the staff at King’s College Hospital in London where she received the advanced treatment that cured her.

Yesterday the hospital was named as a Centre of Excellence by the national blood cancer charity Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research for its world class research and Daisy paid a special visit to unveil the plaque at the School of Medicine’s King’s College Hospital campus.

Daisy of Heatherhayes, Ipswich, who currently works at her mother’s new shop at DanceEast, Cake and Catwalk, first realised something was wrong after she kept falling asleep at school. After some tests, she was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) at the age of 16, which is a pre-Leukaemia condition and means the bone marrow does not function properly.

Her condition meant she had to have several blood transfusions and it appeared to be under control but just before the summer of 2008, she was told she had gone dramatically downhill and would need a bone marrow transplant. To make matters worse, she came down with pneumonia, which “almost killed me”, she said.

As no match could be found for a bone marrow transplant, she had a cord cell transplant, whereby the cells from an umbilical cord are transplanted into the patient, which takes just eight minutes. She spent a further seven weeks in hospital and was on strong medication, but since coming off them in January this year, she has been feeling on top form.

She now plans to move to Exeter with her boyfriend of two years, Keith, and start a university course in philosophy and Spanish.

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The bubbly young woman said: “I am basically a brand new person. I am so incredibly thankful to the people who helped me get better. I have been so lucky there were no serious consequences following the transplant.

“It was quite hard at times to realise I wouldn’t be going to uni. Now I am so ready to learn and embrace the course. I never want to waste a day.”

However she said she will be sad to leave home and her family, especially mum Lynn, who she describes as her “best friend”.

“My mum and dad both took voluntary redundancy to look after me. We have all started new lives. We have all had to leave things to the unknown. It is going to be difficult to leave home because we are so close.”

Daisy, who was delighted to be asked to open the Centre of Excellence, said: “The staff at the hospital do such great work and they really benefit from everything being learned from all the research.”

Professor Ghulam Mufti, at King’s College Hospital, added: “The support of charities such as Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research is vital to keep this going until we achieve the ultimate aim of eradicating leukaemia and allied blood cancers.”