'Matt's Personal Account (Pre transplant).

Hi, I'm Matt,
     I am currently waiting to be matched with a bone marrow donor, Iím hoping they could be German, so they might give me a bit of talent to design some wicked motors(!), as that's what I plan to do when I get older. It's a scary thought though that my donor may possibly be found outside of the UK.  Please please please give a few minutes of your time to attend one of the Recruitment Clinics, you never know you might be my potential lifesaver! If youíre not a match for me there are many other people who, each day, find themselves in the same situation as me Ė please help to reduce their worry of whether a suitable match might be found.

       I was originally diagnosed on 4th December 2008 with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia at Northampton General Hospital. Unfortunately this type could not be treated at Northampton. The Consultant was told there were no beds available at Birmingham so we began our journey in Leicester Royal Infirmary Ward 27. The journey started with a harsh chemo for 10 days which destroyed all my good and bad blood cells, then began the long waiting game in hospital for all blood counts to recover by themselves, while being helped with many blood and platelet transfusions.

      My mates and family came to visit which speeded the recovery. The downside was that the Leicester Tigers came to visit - they weren't happy to see that I displayed my Saints shirt for all to see! Mum was happy to see the players, can't imagine why! After a month of waiting my blood counts started to rise and even better we were allowed home for a few days and then back in to start round 2. I did 4 rounds in all with bone marrow tests after each one to see how it was performing. In May we were allowed home and I was signed off from treatment. During June and July I was back at school - Northampton School for Boys - the hairstyle would not normally be allowed but they made an exception! They worked around whatever lessons I was up to attending which really helped and the boys and teachers treated me like I had not been away, I was soon back in, even played a bit of footie. My Hickman Line was removed - hurray! In September I returned to school sporting a full head of hair and even got to play a rugby match, and trained for a couple of Sundays at my club Old Northamptonians.

Unfortunately on 23rd September at my monthly check up the Consultant at Leicester spotted that my Leukaemia had returned. Once again we were whipped up into a whirlwind of hospital visits, between Leicester, Birmingham and Northampton, sometimes 3 in one day. We have landed at Birmingham Children's Hospital Ward 15. This time they have said that the chemo is even harsher and there will be 2 rounds and then a bone marrow transplant, radiotherapy and steroids (I'm determined to make the front row!). Whatís even worse is I have to celebrate my 15th birthday here and I have to carry on studying for my GCSE's - harsh.

All my mates, family and friends, school, rugby club and Northampton Saints have been such a big support to me all the way through this journey and I am glad of this opportunity to thank them all.

Please attend one of the Recruitment Clinics, take all your family and friends with you, and could I also ask that you consider blood and platelet donations because if these had not been available this journey to recovery would never have started!

Matt Herbert