Veronica Halpin’s Story

“Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

In 1989 I was diagnosed with CML and was devastated. I was married to Niall with four young children and thoughts’ going through my mind was frightening. The doctors in Galway University Hospital had no choice but to send me to St James’s Hospital in Dublin for treatment (Bone Marrow Transplant) under the care of Prof Shaun McCann and Dr. Paul Brown his register.

Tests were carried out on my brothers and sisters for a compatible donor and luckily I had two matches.

I had my transplant on the 9th July 1990 in Hospital 1 on the top floor where there was only three rooms with one of them held for emergencies.

I spent 6 weeks in isolation. I was very sick after the transplant. The drugs available today were not there then but thankfully everything went well and I was discharged from St James’s at the end of August 1990.

I could not go home to Westport, as I had to go to St James’s daily for blood tests. There was no accommodation available to patients from rural Ireland but thankfully we had good friends from home living in Dublin where we stayed.

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 Hospital in 1984, undertaking six transplants in its opening year.

The BMLT could NOT do any of this without the generous fundraising of its supporters. 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.

I started fundraising in 1992 for the Bone Marrow for Leukaemia Trust and I will continue to fundraise for this very worthy cause who support patients and their families who have leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma and have had or may need a stem cell transplant.

I would like to thank all the doctors and nurses in both St. James’s Hospital, Dublin  and Galway University Hospital for all their their care and attention.

I will be forever grateful to them.

Veronica Halpin

Westport