Leukaemia: With strength, support, and love we got through it

13 years post transplant

15 years post transplant and Jeremy hasn’t looked back

Jeremy Bird was only 20 years old and in his final year of university when he was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia in 1998.

Chronic myeloid leukaemia is the rarest of the four main types of leukaemia and affects approximately 249 Australians each year.

After being diagnosed in September, Jeremy immediately commenced oral chemotherapy, before being told he would require a bone marrow transplant.

“At the time of diagnosis I was shattered and scared and thought, ‘why me’ and ‘what have I done to deserve this’. I had just finished university, had secured a graduate job, was super fit and healthy, and had never had a health scare in my life, let alone been to hospital,” Jeremy said.

An international search was carried out to find a matching donor and in April 1999, a perfect unrelated match was found in America.

Jeremy, who continued his university studies throughout his treatment, asked his doctor to arrange the transplant in his mid-semester break.

As a result, Jeremy underwent two days of chemotherapy and three days of full body irradiation before undergoing a life-saving bone marrow transplant in July 1999 at the Royal Brisbane Hospital.

During this time Jeremy and his mum stayed at the Leukaemia Foundation’s Herston accommodation units, free of charge, while his dad and sister commuted from the Gold Coast to visit them.

“We travelled back and forth for weekly appointments with Dr James Morton at the Mater Hospital until August 1999, when I underwent my bone marrow transplant,” Jeremy said.

“When we came up for my transplant my mum moved into the Herston accommodation units and I joined her 28 days after my transplant.”

After 28 days in hospital Jeremy checked out and hasn’t looked back since.

“The transplant was a grueling and tough time for me and my family, however with a lot of strength, support and love we got through it all. I couldn’t have done it alone.”

“Staff at the Leukaemia Foundation provided ongoing support for me and my family, and I know without their help I wouldn’t be here today.”

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