'It's our only hope' - Leeds mum's impassioned plea for donor to help fight daughter's cancer

A Leeds mother has made a desperate plea to find a bone marrow donor for her daughter, which could be her only hope of survival.

Kirstie Plenderleith is frantically trying to find a match for her daughter Emily Land, who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia last year – the most aggressive form of the illness.

The young law apprentice from Oulton, who turns 21 next month, battled her way back to health after undergoing chemotherapy.

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Just two months ago she rang the bell at St James’ Hospital to declare she was cancer free and moving on with her life with her boyfriend Ryan.

Emily with her mother Kirstie and her husband Andrew Plenderleith.Emily with her mother Kirstie and her husband Andrew Plenderleith.
Emily with her mother Kirstie and her husband Andrew Plenderleith.

She had returned to work for just one day at Plexus Law in Leeds when she received the devastating news that her cancer had returned, and was even more aggressive than before.

She will now undergo intense chemotherapy, but a bone marrow donor is essential.

Kirstie says only a simple mouth swab is required to determine if a person is compatible, and donating bone marrow is like giving blood.

She said: "The issue we have is we need people to sign up.

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Emily with her boyfriend Ryan Hammill.Emily with her boyfriend Ryan Hammill.
Emily with her boyfriend Ryan Hammill.

“They need to be between 18 and 30 for Emily and all they need to do is go on and register, and they’ll get a pack sent out to them.

"It’s a mouth swab, that’s all it is.

“Even if it didn’t match Emily, it might match someone else who needs a transplant.

People think it’s a major operation, but it’s not, it’s just removing blood, then putting it back in.

Emily during her previous stay in hospital as she underwent chemotherapy.Emily during her previous stay in hospital as she underwent chemotherapy.
Emily during her previous stay in hospital as she underwent chemotherapy.

"Her only chance is to have intense chemotherapy and then once she is in remission, the transplant.”

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Also known as a stem cell transplant, it involves replacing a patient’s bone marrow with healthy cells.

For the donor, they have blood removed and the healthy cells extracted, before the blood is placed back into their body.

The healthy cells will then be fed into Emily.

For some, it can cure the disease.

People who are between 18 and 30 can check if they are a match for Emily by clicking here.

The family’s world was turned upside down last year after her mum spotted inexplicable bruises on her legs.

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Having contacted the doctor, she was called to Seacroft Hospital for tests, and just hours later were told she needed to attend St James’ Hospital.

Thinking they were only going for further tests, they were given the devastating news and treatment was to begin immediately.

Emily and Kirstie spent the the next 31 days in isolation due to Covid conditions.

She finished the gruelling chemotherapy in May, and was was given the all-clear in July.

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But then Kirstie noticed more bruises coming up on Emily again, and admitted she “felt sick”.

At first, doctors thought it was just a side effect from a bout of Covid Emily had contracted, but then came the devastating news.

Kirstie said: "To get the all clear and then for it to come back, it was just horrific.

"She was absolutely broken, and she is really, really scared.

“Because she knows what’s coming, it’s worse.

"And the thought of not being able to find a donor is unbearable.”

The family have put their plea for donors on Facebook which has been shared hundreds of times.