A teenage cancer patient whose life has been saved by her 10-year-old sister’s bone marrow says her recovery is a Christmas miracle.
In what will surely be the best Christmas present she has ever had, brave Jessica Versey, 19, from Blacon, will spend the festive season at home with her family after receiving the miraculous news that she is now ‘cancer free’, seven months after she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).
The former Queen's Park High School pupil had failed to respond to the aggressive course of chemotherapy which usually results in an 80% chance of remission for AML patients and was told by doctors that her only chance of a cure was to receive a rare stem cell transplant from the only member of her family who was a match – her 10-year-old little sister Maisy.
Maisy didn’t hesitate to undergo the rare surgery to transplant her own bone marrow to her sister, and her selfless actions earned her the Young Person of the Year award at the 2014 Trinity Mirror Scottish Power Your Champions Awards last month.
At the time, Jessica spoke of her sister as ‘the most amazing little girl I’ve ever met’, and said she ‘couldn’t be more proud’ of what Maisy had done to help save her life.
However, just three weeks ago, Jessica contracted an infection from the chemotherapy she was receiving, which caused her kidneys and liver to swell up, and her family held an anxious vigil at her bedside at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital’s transplant unit, desperately willing her to recover.
But now, in what can only be described as a Christmas miracle, the Verseys’ prayers have been answered at last, as doctors have now declared Jessica cancer free and have discharged her to spend Christmas at her home with her loved ones in Hatton Road.
An ecstatic Jessica told The Chronicle: “I am cancer free due to Maisy’s bone marrow! Physio have discharged me and I can officially walk again. It is safe to say I am one lucky girl.
“Unknown to me, I spent five weeks in intensive care asleep and to get this news a week after being on life support is amazing, I’m just so made up.
“I will be continuing with some physio though, because my left side is a lot weaker than my right side. I have had to learn to walk again and I will be going to clinic in Liverpool twice a week for blood products and then in a couple of months I will have to have my baby injections again because at the moment I have the immune system of a 16 week old baby.
“My transplant will also have to be monitored for two years and they will have to check on me to make sure my liver and kidney levels don’t get like they did after the infection.”
Jessica explained: “I have only spent five weeks of this year at home since the diagnosis and now I’m only an outpatient - it’s amazing. I couldn’t wait to get home to finally see my little Maisy and the rest of my family. It’s safe to say I will not be going anywhere apart from the sofa and my bed!
“I feel really well at the moment, just a bit tired as I am still a little weak in my legs so find it difficult to get up and downstairs, but I start physio soon which will strengthen me up a bit.
“I didn’t think this would ever happen but now I just can’t wait to spend Christmas with my family,” she added.