Looking for the perfect match

The gift of blood can mean so much to so many. For Jennifer Boulton, it is a person’s decision to go one step further and become a bone marrow donor that can be a truly life changing choice and one she encourages people to make. In March 2018, 56 year-old Jennifer, from Cessnock, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), a disease she knew little about. Jennifer desperately needed a bone marrow transplant, but a match couldn’t be found for her initially, until her eldest son was found to be a 50 per cent match.

Each year in Australia, more than 3,700 people are diagnosed with a form of leukaemia. Sadly, AML is one of the most common types of acute leukaemia in adults, with about 1,050 people diagnosed each year.

“We need more awareness about the disease and how people can make a difference, particularly within our indigenous communities, where it can be difficult to trace your blood line when so many families have been separated over generations. Our younger generation need to be aware and know how they can make a difference. It affects them too,” said Jennifer, a Ngiyampaa woman.

Jennifer is now speaking out, urging people to sign up and become part of the bone marrow register. She says with tears in her eyes, “it’s such a generous gift to give. It takes no time, or money, just a bit of effort.”

To enrol as a bone marrow donor visit https://www.donateblood.com.au/learn/bone-marrow-donation or complete the form next time you give blood.

Read more community news in the Autumn edition of Hunter & Coastal Lifestyle Magazine or subscribe here.