Friday 10th November 2017
Iqra's Special Gift for Sunny
Meet Sunny and his wee sister Iqra. Earlier this year, Iqra gave Sunny an incredible gift – a bone marrow transplant, which will change his life forever.
Since the age of 2, Sunny has required a blood transfusion every 3-4 weeks.
But following the bone marrow transplant from 5 year old Iqra, he may never need another blood transfusion again.
One of the most famous faces on our Schiehallion ward, 18 year old Sunny has spent most of his life being treated for thalassemia; a rare genetic condition that results in the destruction of red blood cells. The only cure for the condition is a bone marrow transplant from a compatible match.
Sunny’s mum, dad and little brother were tested for compatibility, but weren’t donor matches; it was only when little Iqra came along that the family discovered the amazing news that Sunny had found the match who could transform his life.
When Iqra was 4, the Schiehallion team decided to proceed with the transplant. It was a very delicate balance to take just enough to help Sunny, but not so much that Iqra would suffer.
Sunny wanted to share his experience of what it’s like for a teenager to receive a bone marrow transplant, and picks up the story:
“The team at the hospital told me everything, but you can’t truly prepare for chemotherapy.
“It felt like days were just being wasted when my test results weren’t improving. At your worst, time passes so slowly. A day felt like a week, weeks felt like years. In strict isolation you totally lose track of time – my blinds were down, I didn’t know if it was day or night, and each day brought with it a new problem.
“I felt like I was running a marathon every day. It was physically and emotionally draining – the pain, seizures, hair loss, depression and all of the other side effects.
“I hated not being able to play basketball or football. I lost my hair, which was a huge part of who I was and that really affected me.
“Isolation taught me that you have to be humble and patient. Being ambitious is one thing, but you can be overconfident and hit a lot of low points during your treatment.
“The last blood transfusion I had was in March. The whole transplant process lasts a year. Not everything always goes to plan, but reaching the 6 month mark was important to me. I can do everything that I could do before. It’s been a grind, but you have to do all that you can to get back to the top. You basically have to build yourself into a brick wall, and every day is another building block.
“After the transplant I was acting like a big baby – but the nurses weren’t having any of it! They kept me right and wouldn’t indulge my nonsense. Elaine really toughened me up!
“My experiences in Schiehallion have given me a lot of strength and confidence. I know what the others in the ward are going through, and am grateful that I have come through the other side. I hope that my story can support parents and kids who are going through the same thing.”
To support children and young people like Sunny with cancer and blood disorders, please support our Schiehallion Appeal. Text CARE to 70660 to donate £5, or donate at http://www.glasgowchildrenshospitalcharity.org/donate