BUDDING SCIENTIST, 12, FACES NEW HEALTH BATTLE
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE third birthday. Gillian said: “It was the best birthday present ever. “Abigail was the first child in the world to successfully go from her condition to a Berlin Heart to a heart transplant. “When we got home, Abigail was front page news and there were news crews waiting outside our door.” Abigail’s kidneys were affected by the transplant and she became a renal patient, developing pneumonia in 2014, but the budding scientist was determined to have a normal childhood. In 2015, she won a silver medal for cycling and a silver and two bronze for swimming at the British Transplant Games. But in May last year, she began to complain of headaches and pain in her jaw. Bone marrow tests revealed she had Burkitt’s Lymphoma – a rare and aggressive form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Gillian said: “She had been doing absolutely fantastically and you would never have known she had a heart transplant. It came as a complete shock to us.
“When you have a heart transplant you take immunosuppressant drugs so your body doesn’t reject the organ. Her immune system is repressed so she is more susceptible to developing PTLD (post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder). By the time she was diagnosed, Abigail’s had developed into Burkitt’s Lymphoma.”
Abigail had six rounds of chemo, which was deemed a success, but in December medics discovered the cancer had returned to her abdomen.
She spent four-and-a-half months in hospital earlier this year and medics are happy with how she has responded.
Abigail, who has a little sister, Lucy, still has to attend hospital weekly but has had more time to do the things she enjoys – listening to Ellie Goulding and Little Mix, watching Bake Off and Masterchef on TV and attending science club at school.
But she is one of hundreds of children with cancer still looking for their cure.
Abigail said: “Time in hospital can really drag. When you’re in the ward you eat, sleep and play in the play room and then just repeat that every day.
“My friends don’t understand why I really want to go back to school. I miss it and doing normal things.”
To help the Schiehallion Appeal reach its £500,000, Abigail has designed the charity’s Christmas card this year.
The appeal aims to expand Scotland’s trial centre at Glasgow’s Royal Hospital for Children, the only one of its kind in the country, so that children do not have to leave the country for treatment.
Gillian said: “We have experienced living away from home for Abigail’s treatment and know what it would mean to have new treatments available for children at home.” To support the Schiehallion Appeal, text CHILD to to donate £5 or call To buy Abigail’s card please visit www.GlasgowChildrensHospitalCharity.org/shop
FUNDRAISER Christmas The charity designed card Abigail SIBLING Abigail with her little sister Lucy STILL SMILING Abigail Hall 8750 PIONEER Abigail, then three, with her mum and dad after having heart surgery