History of Bone Marrow for Leukaemia Trust

ABOUT US

The Bone Marrow for Leukaemia Trust was set up to provide funding and support for a dedicated bone marrow transplant unit in the country.  The Trust grew and prospered and the first Transplant Unit was opened in St. James’s Hospital in 1984, undertaking six transplants in its opening year.

In 1995 the Transplant unit moved to a new specifically designed and built area in the new St. James’s Hospital which in turn was subsequently replaced by a state of the art unit, containing 21 air conditioned, en suite rooms in 2001.

The BMLT  purchased 7 apartments in the Chocolate Factory in Kilmainham for the use of patients and their relatives. These fully furnished apartments are provided gratis by the BMLT.

The BMLT could NOT do any of this without the generous fundraising of its supporters. Every year, throughout the most severe austerity, the BMLT received support from patients, their families and relatives. The BMLT has two part-time staff (remunerated) and seven board members and a secretary who give their time for NO financial reward. The success of the BMLT depends entirely on the generosity and support of you, its supporters.

We are very grateful and hope you will continue to support us in the future.

History of Bone Marrow Transplantation in Ireland

Prior to 1980, patients with leukaemia received chemotherapy with varying degrees of success. The outlook for children was always better than adults and now over 90% of children with leukaemia are cured with chemotherapy.

In 1978-79  the late Professor Ian Temperley in St James’s Hospital went to a lecture by Professor E. Donal Thomas from Seattle Washington in which Professor Thomas demonstrated that Bone Marrow Transplantation could save the lives of many adult patients with leukaemia.

As now, these were difficult times for the health service. Money was in short supply and the Department of Health was very nervous about new treatments which might be expensive.

Professor Ian Temperley and his friend/patient, the late Eugene Murray, gathered some like-minded friends and set about raising money so that Bone Marrow Transplantation could become available to Irish patients. They were very successful against all odds and the first Bone Marrow Transplant for Leukaemia was carried out in St James’s Hospital in 1984 by Professor Shaun McCann and his team. Since then 2258 transplants have been carried out in the unit.

The BMLT was ESSENTIAL. It provided funds for Professor McCann to travel to Seattle, Washington to learn the technique from Professor E. Donal Thomas. The BMLT subsequently provided funds for nurses, doctors, scientists, equipment, data managers and of course support for patients and their families undergoing Bone Marrow Transplantation.