At the start of November 2013 my sister, Olivia, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.
Due to the nature of the leukaemia she needed a stem cell transplant (more commonly known as a bone marrow transplant). Thanks to the amazing work of the Anthony Nolan charity 42 worldwide potential matches were found.
In April 2014 Olivia had the transplant and as far as could be determined seemed to be cured of leukaemia. Unfortunately a serious unavoidable risk is rejection. For Olivia this manifested itself as very severe Graft Verses Host Disease.
The physical and emotional pain she went through during that time is unimaginable. Yet despite all that she remained more determined and optimistic than anyone I have ever known.
That emotional strength was never more clearly shown when speaking to her two young boys on the phone from hospital - the sparkle, the sense of life and love in her voice couldn't fail to lift your spirits.
Although she never probably realised it, I always aspired to be more like my sister. Her kindness, optimism, determination and positive outlook on life always touched me as I think it did to the many people who knew her.
Memories of Olivia will live on within each of us and we will make sure that her two boys grow up to know what a special partner, mother, daughter, sister, aunt and friend Olivia was to us all.
Goodbye Olivia, we miss you dearly…
Without a stem cell transplant Olivia wouldn't have had the extra two and half years with her boys and family, or the hope of survival. The transplant charities are always needing more people to register, please find out how.