Paige's Story
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The anniversary

By Paige

It's an international day of sadness but each year my family remembers September 11 as the day that brought them hope.

I was eight and having chemotherapy for leukaemia. The worst bit was when my long brown hair fell out. Although Mum spent time buying and making me hats, it just wasn't the same. All my friends were enjoying school and out having fun while I seemed to be stuck in hospital forever.

When a new chemotherapy wasn't working the doctors suggested a bone marrow transplant. My Dad was a match, and the bone marrow transfusion was scheduled for 11 September 2002 - the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

I was worried because of the date, known to be a tragedy. Eight hours later the transfusion was over and I was feeling better than I had in months.

I grew into a healthy teenager enjoying life again, but when I was 16 I was diagnosed with Wilson's disease - a hereditary disease that unfortunately meant I needed a liver transplant. The two illnesses were unrelated. It was just incredible bad luck.

In another amazing coincidence, just a week after my diagnosis, a suitable liver became available. Some people wait years for a donor organ. I'd found luck in a very unlucky situation.

I felt a combination of emotions after realising the date, it was September 11. It was many years since Dad gave me his bone marrow. Dad said, "It must be your lucky transplant day." I was filled with hope now that my luck had finally changed and my fears melted away. But I also felt sad for the family who'd lost a loved one. Their kindness had given me a second chance.

In ICU after 10 hours of surgery, I was exhausted. I was moved to the ward after three days and a few weeks later I was at home and cured.

September 11 is a day I always mark. I remember the victims in New York and the illnesses I was able to overcome and am thankful I'm still here. For me, it's an anniversary of life.

Paige