Family’s 190th day of isolation as daughter recovers from transplant
PUBLISHED: 06:30 01 June 2020
A Norwich family are raising awareness about blood cancer as their daughter celebrates six months since a life-saving transplant operation.
Imogen Roe, nine, spent 100 days, including Christmas and New Year, in hospital after undergoing a bone marrow transplant, and returned home to Norfolk 10 days before the country went into lockdown.
The Drayton Primary School pupil was diagnosed with leukaemia for a second time last year and underwent the transplant on November 29 at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children.
Her parents Anna Dagless and Dean Roe were with her, with Mr Roe making weekly 500 mile round trips, as she faced a “rollercoaster ride” to recovery.
Miss Dagless said: “She had a really horrific ride, everything that could have gone wrong did. She had so many infections.”
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The family had initially thought that Imogen’s twin Charlotte could be a match, only to be shocked to learn through genetic testing the girls were identical twins - meaning Charlotte was no longer a viable donor.
One was found in the US, but the family had to wait 40 days for the cells in the bone marrow to begin to grow, causing worries another match may need to be found.
With May 28, marking world blood cancer day, the family want to continue raising awareness of causes such as Anthony Nolan and DKMS.
Miss Dagless added that encouraging people to donate blood was important as Imogen required 70 blood transfusions.
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She said: “She had one match, without that match she wouldn’t be here today. Four in 10 people do not get their match.”
The family spent several weeks in Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge before being allowed to return home on March 13, 10 days before the government announced lockdown.
Miss Dagless said: “It is day 190 of not seeing our family and friends, we have gone straight from isolation, straight into isolation. It is nice to sleep in our own beds and sit on our sofa and drink from a mug and not a travel mug.
“She would like to give her nan and granddad a hug. The only way we have seen them is once from the car window.”
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Since returning home, Imogen has been taking longer bike rides, and playing with her siblings Liam and Charlotte.
Miss Daglass said it was unlikely that Imogen would have been unable to go back to school until September at the earliest, due to her weakened immune system.
On Friday, Imogen will mark six months since her transplant and the family is also looking forward to marking Imogen and Charlotte’s 10th birthday.
Miss Dagless said; “We are still going to Addenbrooke’s and there are lot of long term repercussions of the chemotherapy, life changing things, but it is nice to see her enjoying herself and getting stronger every day.”
As part of world blood cancer day, people are encouraged to wear red to show their support.
The family encouraged anyone who wanted to show their support to use the #wearitred and share their photos on their Facebook page Gocrackersforimmy to show Imogen.
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