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Jenny's story

In late 1999 when our daughter was only a few months old, my husband started showing signs of colon trouble but he didn't get it checked out, he honestly didn't think it was dangerous, and as I didn't know how often it was happening, I didn't pester him to go to the doctor about it.

He eventually went to the doctor and received treatment that gave temporary relief from the swelling and bleeding, but over one weekend in April, he lost almost his entire volume of blood and was admitted to our local general hospital. He received numerous blood transfusions over the time he spent there, but the cause of the blood loss was still not established.

The doctor let him out, but he was re-admitted within a matter of days with even more severe blood loss. This time he was kept in for a couple of weeks and received even MORE blood transfusions. During both his stays in hospital I was trying to run a house and work a full-time job and bring our baby to the childminders and back, along with being brought to the hospital to visit him every evening. We didn't even have a car at the time, so I was relying on his family to get me there and back. It's no wonder I broke down crying on my desk in work one day, in front of a crowded office, he hadn't been diagnosed at that stage and everything just piled in on top of me. He was eventually diagnosed with ulcerative pan-colitis.

So from just where his stomach ends to where the rest of it ends (!) his insides are pitted and ulcerated. It took a couple of years as an outpatient at St. James' Hospital in Dublin to get it under control, under the care of an excellent team there, but he's on great medication now. It's similar to what transplant patients take, as the disease makes his system treat his own bowel as a foreign body, and essentially attacks it. He hasn't had an attack in a number of years, although he does have to be slightly more careful what he eats now, as there are one or two foods which aggravate the condition and as luck would have it they are some of his favourite things.

Ah well, such is life, and I would like to thank the numerous people who donated the blood needed to save his life. You've given me my husband (we married 3 years ago after 11.5 years together) and you've given my 9 year old daughter a priceless treasure - her Daddy - as both of our lives would have been all the poorer without him. Thank you all, love Jenny.

National Blood Centre, James's Street, Dublin 8.       Tel: 00 353 1 4322800       Fax: 00 353 1 4322930