What to do when you’re thriving, and others are failing

Your body is AMAZING. Your blood cells are constantly depleting and being recreated on demand, deep within your bone marrow.

You make billions of new cells every day. That’s several million in the time it’s taken you to read this far.

Feeling awesome yet? You are.

The important (and very concise) biology bit

Your red blood cells carry oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body; and carbon dioxide back into your lungs to be breathed out. Your white blood cells protect you against infection. Your platelets prevent bleeding and bruising. All three are perfectly attuned to keep you in the flow.

So kick back, put your feet up, and effortlessly generate a few million more cells – while you read why it’s such drudgery for people with bone marrow failure to do the same…

The Story of Aplasia Smith & Wonky Marrow

The hero of our little tale,

Aplasia Smith, wants to be well.

She yearns to dance and jump around

Then quietly sit and hear no sound.

But even climbing up the stairs

Her heart thumps loudly in her ears.

The bright Red Bus that used to whisk

Her on adventures, is at risk

Of breaking down. She takes the key

And disembarks Red Bus to see

The brave White Knight, who used to duel
With enemy invaders to
Defend against infection. But
He’s drunk on mead! Cock-eyed. Half-cut.
He staggers aimlessly around.
At times he falls flat on the ground,
Flailing his almighty sword
At any germs that come toward
Her body. Just by fluke, I think,
His botched strikes keep her in the pink.

Aplasia needs a blood transfusion
So she breaks her self-seclusion
And with no petrol in her tank,
She drags herself to the blood bank.
Be good, Aplasia. Above all
Conform to Covid protocol:
Douse your hands in sanitiser,
Cloak your face with plastic visor
And share your vital signs, before
They even let you through the door.

The nurse jabs a fine needle in
Her elbow crease, piercing her skin.
The Placid Platelets, all asleep
Don’t even make a single peep.
The needle drops. Pinprick revealed.
Instead of seeing blood congealed,
Transfixed, she sees a blurred red line
Smudge down her forearm. Just in time
A cotton wad, swiftly applied,
Stems tiny wound, keeps blood inside.

Aplasia shuts her eyes. It drains
Her, having blood dripped through her veins.
Her mind follows a stream to find
Wonky Marrow – misaligned,
Deformed, defunct, defective. It
Will not give up, it will not quit!
Each day expending vast amounts
Of energy, to raise the counts
Of all the cells – but how to do
this? Wonky Marrow has no clue.

Now 8 full moons have come and gone
Since symptoms started going on
But treatment is still far away
Oh, Thank You NHS delays!
The prognoses of all Western
Therapeutic interventions
Are clear as mud. Although she spoke
With other patients who, no joke,
Have sailed from illness most severe
To complete cure within a year.

Still, steeped in reams of muddled mess
About which treatment option’s best
Shamanic journeys, witch’s spells…
Aha! She needs some NEW stem cells
To save her from this sticky patch –
But sister’s not a perfect match.
11 out of 12 – they are
Nail-bitingly close, and frustratingly far
From finding a long-lasting cure
So doctors need to search once more…

They need to test, they need to see
If on the stem cell registry
A selfless donor is a match
But wait – there’s an important catch:
Who would help a random stranger
Get themselves away from danger…?
Will Aplasia Smith still dance?
Can you please give her one more chance?
And many more like her besides
Her fate’s awaiting – YOU decide.

** You can help Aplasia Smith, and millions of others who need life-saving transfusions or transplants, by sharing your blood and sharing your cells today. **

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