Mum’s urgent plea for life-saving donor
Published: 21 Oct 2013 17:000 comments
Tammi Carberry suffers from the rare condition that leads to bone marrow failure and affects only one in 350,000 people.
She was diagnosed in the summer and is patiently awaiting news of a matching donor.
In the wake of her diagnosis, her mum Caroline has made an urgent appeal for more donors to sign up to the national register.
Tammi (21), a former Alloa Academy pupil, said, “I should be out drinking and partying with my friends but I can’t. I can’t touch alcohol; even the smell of it makes me sick.
“But if you sit and greet about it every day you’re going to feel down and get more and more depressed. I’ve just got to get on with things.”
Fanconi Anaemia is a rare hereditary genetic disorder and sufferers are usually diagnosed before they reach 12-years-old.
For Tammi, however, it was not until last year that it became apparent she was seriously ill despite showing several physical signs, including deafness in one ear.
She said, “I was constantly getting up every morning and being sick. I couldn’t eat anything and I was losing weight.”
She went to her GP who diagnosed her with anaemia and prescribed vitamin injections. When they failed to make a difference, she had further tests and was diagnosed with aplastic anaemia; a condition in which blood stem cells in bone marrow are damaged. A biopsy just before the summer revealed the true extent of her condition.
Mum, Caroline (47), said, “When she heard the news she was standing beside me and her legs just buckled with shock. We knew something was wrong but didn’t think it would be so serious.”
Sufferers have a higher risk of head, neck and gynaecological cancers and can feel extreme fatigue and have frequent infections. As a result Tammi has been unable to resume her job as a catering assistant at housing with care unit, West Lodge Gardens, in Alloa.
Caroline added, “We can’t even go to the shops. We get half-way round and she needs to sit down as she feels dizzy or sick.
“If the place is crowded she takes panic attacks and I have to drop everything and get her home.”
Now Tammi is waiting to see if there is a matching donor available for her and her mum has appealed for more people to come forward.
Caroline said, “They said it could happen in a month, six months, 18 months, two years. If someone is willing to be a donor they could help save a life.”
National charity, Anthony Nolan, maintains a register of bone marrow donors. Donors must be aged between 16 and 30 years old due to the statistical likelyhood that those over the age of 30 will develop a health problem, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, that would put the donor or patient at risk.
There are just over 420,000 people on the register and in 2009/10 it found 937 matches.
Tammi remains optimistic, however due to the hereditary nature of the condition, Caroline still finds it difficult to cope.
She said, “It’s hard to know that me and her dad gave it to her. She is coping day to day – she’s my wee hero.
“She just gets on with it but it upsets me.”
A spokeswoman for NHS Forth Valley said while it cannot be certain that Tammi is the first case of the disorder in the Forth Valley area, it is the first case her consultant at Forth Valley Royal Hospital has seen since he took up his post in 2007.