Meet Up of a Lifetime
Nureen and Shelia Meet for the First Time

People wish for the strangest things at Christmas from “two front teeth” to an impossible quest for wealth and beauty. For our patients and their families, the greatest and only gift they want is to find that one special person who means the difference between having a future and a transplant or inevitable death.


Nureen was flying high when she started getting bruises that would not fade. She went for a check-up and at just 30, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, a type of blood cancer characterised by the overproduction of immature white blood cells. She had less than six months to live if she did not get a bone marrow transplant.


Nureen’s brothers were both tested but neither was suitable. Fortunately, a perfect match was found within our local donor register in Sheila, who had signed up to be a donor.


“I was very excited when I received the call from BMDP , ” Sheila recalled. “It was a no-brainer and of course I said yes.” After the Verification Typing confirmed she was a perfect match and following a full health check-up, she went ahead with the donation. Throughout the process, Sheila kept in touch with Nureen through letters sent by the BMDP to ensure anonymity.


On the day of meeting up with Sheila, Nureen looked fit and healthy and had just been given approval to go back to work. Entering the room with a radiant smile, she was immediately overwhelmed with tears as she embraced Sheila and thanked her for saving her life. “Sheila is a part of me, her cells are in my body. She’s like my sister,” Nureen said.


There was not a single dry eye in the room as the magnitude of this special occasion sunk in. Witnessing this heart-warming moment puts into perspective the important work that we are doing here at the BMDP. For Ashminder from our patient services team who helped coordinate the transplant, she and Nureen discovered they were long lost childhood friends 20 years ago!


Leukaemia is not a lifestyle disease; it can strike anyone at any time. Our aim is to help every patient find a matching donor and give them a second chance to live. Sign up to be a bone marrow donor today! It may not mean much to you but your gift may be the most beautiful and precious that our patients can get.

PUBLISHED ON 23 October 2017
Registering to become a bone marrow donor means committing to be there when you get the call to give life. Each registrant provides hope for those waiting. A person could, however, be a match within a few months of registering, a year later or even seven years later.
How to register?