The life of a Blacon teenager fighting cancer could be saved - if a rare bone marrow transplant donated from her 10-year-old sister is successful.

Just a few months ago, 18-year-old Jessica Versey, of Hatton Road, was a normal teenager who loved going out with her friends every week, before her life was turned upside down on May 1 when she was diagnosed with the blood cancer acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) following weeks of sore throats, chest infections and aching bones.

Jessica Versey just days before being diagnosed with cancer
 

She had to immediately begin a five-month course of aggressive chemotherapy, which usually has an 80% chance of remission for AML patients – but as Jessica unfortunately did not respond to treatment, now her only chance of a cure is to receive a rare stem cell transplant from the only member of her family who is a match – her little sister Maisy.

To prepare for the lifesaving procedure, which will take place at the Royal Liverpool Hospital on October 16, former Queen’s Park High School pupil Jessica must spend time in solitary confinement receiving toxic chemotherapy to kill off her bone marrow and immune system before the vital stem cells from Maisy can be transplanted.

Jessica told The Chronicle her little sister had wanted to be the donor from ‘day one’, and was thrilled to find she was a match.

“She always used to say how exciting it would be to be able to help me and when we found out, I was in hospital so I rang Maisy and told her the news. I honestly wish I could have recorded it, as she squealed down the phone and kept shouting and screaming with excitement,” she said.

“Then she started crying and my dad had to take the phone off her; it was a very special moment. Once she settled down she sent me a beautiful text saying how happy she was to be a match and how much she loved me.”

“Maisy went to see her medical team at Alder Hey where she’ll be spending two days in hospital having the bone marrow harvest and the doctors asked her what she was most worried about and she said the only thing that she was worried about was if her bone marrow didn’t work and she couldn’t help save my life,” Jessica added.

“She’s honestly the most amazing girl I’ve ever met; her understanding of the situation and how she takes it in her stride is amazing - I couldn’t be more proud.”

In the run up to the surgery, the sisters are being supported by Chester-based Pamela Northcott Fund, a unique charity that specialises in helping patients access new cancer treatments, and has recently launched a dedicated teenage support service.

Founder Kate Northcott said she wants to do all she can to help Jessica focus on other things than cancer, as well as fulfilling the teenager’s wish to raise as much awareness of the symptoms of leukaemia as possible.

Kate Northcott and Jessica Versey
 

She said: “When I met Jess, I was struck by a beautiful girl holding her mum’s hand and both had such pain and fear in their eyes. From that moment I knew I had to take their hands in mine and focus that fear into something positive for them all.

“Jess has been through more than any of us could ever imagine and she has an important message for us all.

“We’ve started doing video blogs together, and hope to produce T-shirts of her wonderful artwork. For Maisy I want to produce a video for other siblings in similar situations.”

Kate added: “They’re incredible girls and we want people to follow their journey, to be aware.”

The girls’ mum Jane said: “My husband Dave and I are so proud of both Jess and Maisy - this is such a big thing for Maisy to do but she understands. We are incredibly proud.”

To follow Jessica’s journey, follow @campaignkate and @PNFund on Twitter.