A MUM-OF-TWO from York has met the 14-year-old whose life she saved by donating her bone marrow.
Carol Ward, 49, from Poppleton Road, donated bone marrow in 2006 to save the life of Charnay Cairns, who was suffering from leukaemia.
She said: “It was fantastic to finally be able to meet Charnay and to see how well she is doing.
“I was delighted when I was told I was a match for her and I am so glad I was able to help.”
Charnay was just two-and-a-half when her mother, Joanne Cairns, noticed that her body was covered in small bruises.
She took her to an emergency GP who sent her straight to hospital for blood tests which revealed that Charnay had leukaemia and the toddler was put on a gruelling course of chemotherapy which lasted two years.
Joanne, 48, said: “I was heartbroken when Charnay was diagnosed – I couldn’t believe it. It was an extremely difficult time. It is not something you ever want to see your child go through.”
Despite the intensive chemotherapy, Charnay’s leukaemia returned and her parents were told a bone marrow transplant was her only chance of survival.
Unfortunately, none of her relatives were suitable matches so Charnay’s doctors asked the blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan to search its register for a possible donor.
The charity found Carol who was a match for Charnay and was willing to donate – a process that she said is very similar and no more painful than giving blood.
Charnay’s transplant went ahead in April 2006 but she developed pneumonia which left her on a life support machine.
However, after months of recovery it was revealed that the transplant was a success for Charnay has now made a full recovery.
Joanne said: “It is fantastic to see that people actually go out of their way to help strangers in the way that Carol did.
“Without her, my daughter would not be here today.”
Carol, who runs Poppleton Road Working Men’s Club with her husband David, explained that she joined the Anthony Nolan bone marrow register after a young man in Burnholme – where she was living at the time – developed leukaemia and that said she was delighted when she received a call to say she was a match for someone.
At the time all she knew was that she was donating to a young child.
Following their meeting she said: “I was so happy to meet Charnay and to see how well she looks.
“Her family showed me photographs from when she was ill and it was clear that she has been through a huge amount.
“I am just glad that I was able to help.”
Joanne added: “I cried when I first met Carol – I didn’t know what I could say to thank her for saving my daughter’s life.”
They have urged people between the ages of 16 and 30 to sign up to the charity’s bone marrow register and save more lives.