May's Leukaemia Battle

My name is Hannah and I have been bestfriends with May since we were 10 years old. She has been battling a very aggressive cancer (leukaemia). This has been an ongoing battle for 6 years since the age of 16.  Through this horrible disease she has always seemed to keep a smile on her gorgeous face, never complains, and it breaks my heart for such a beautiful, kind natured loving girl to be battling this horrible disease. This is May's story:

"In November 2011, I was a healthy 16 year old student studying for my HSC. I began suffering from fatigue that was put down to stress and had constant chest infections which wouldn’t clear up and then I suffered an asthma type attack, where I couldn't breathe.

I visited ER for some oxygen and they did blood tests and found abnormal results. I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia which is a very aggressive type of blood cancer.  Within 24 hours I was on chemotherapy, a ventilator and put in an induced coma for 5 days.

In May 2012, I had a bone marrow transplant with my own cells. The whole process included 7 months in and out of hospital, often for weeks on end, very intensive chemotherapy, and months of recovery once I had finished.

I recovered and finished high school, even going along to my Year 12 formal wearing a wig, and enrolled at university to study a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy.  I was told if I could stay in remission for 5 years I had a good chance of remaining cancer free for the rest of my life.

Then in May 2015, almost exactly 3 years from the date of my transplant, I was told I had relapsed, but this time the cancer had mutated and would be harder to treat. In this next battle, I went through chemo again, ended up in ICU and had several long hospital admissions, leading up to a bone marrow transplant with donor cells from the bone marrow international registry. I will always be thankful for the 22 year old German guy who donated his bone marrow selflessly. The recovery was long, but I was back at university within a few months.

However, within a year of having my donor transplant I had relapsed again for the third time.

I then went on chemo again, a type normally given for those 65+, and tried to manage living with low levels of energy and fortnightly blood transfusions. Due to all the chemo I’ve had I now have mild heart failure. 

I had another transplant with my previous donor’s cells. The doctors were hoping to induce a slight amount of Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD) to reduce the likelihood of relapse. GVHD was to be induced by weaning me off my anti-rejection drugs, in order for my own cells to attack any new cancer cells, but not to the extent of rejecting donor marrow. Unfortunety I never got any GVHD and  a fortnight later on the 23rd of August 2017 I was told I had relapsed again.

I’ve now been told that this Acute Myeloid Leukemia has become even more aggressive and is now incurable. My doctors have searched internationally for clinical trials but my only option is to stay on this low dose chemo until my leukemia mutates once again. I’ve been told to write a bucket list as we know the chemo will stop working at some point and when it does I will only have a couple of weeks to live.

I have decided to take it into my own hands and start on alternative therapies; a 90 day protocol which could cost up to $25 000. This doesn’t include the supplements and vitamins I will need to take. "

This is May's last option and it is now time to give her the best shot at living with the best quality of life. This is why I am reaching out to you.

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May Somerville 
St Pauls NSW
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