‘I HONESTLY THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO LOSE THEM BOTH’
Mum’s heartache at seeing son and husband fight for life
MUM Sam Brand feared she would lose her precious son when he was struck down with a very rare blood disorder as a baby. But more heartache was to follow when her husband Mark almost died after a brain aneurysm and stroke.
At one point Sam had no choice but to travel to two different wards of the hospital so she could see them both during the same visiting hours.
“It was horrendous. I honestly thought I was going to lose them both,” said the 29-year-old.
“I just thought my life couldn’t get any worse. I felt like my world was crashing down. I kept on asking why this was happening my family.”
In 2012 Sam’s son Ryan fell seriously ill just before his christening, when he was eight months old.
After an appointment with her GP she was told to travel to Ystrad Mynach Hospital where a nurse quickly spotted Ryan’s symptoms.
“That nurse saved my son’s life,” Sam said. “They couldn’t do proper bloods on him as he was so young but they managed to get a tiny amount off him for analysis.
“Five minutes later we were told to get Ryan to A&E straightaway.”
At the University Hospital of Wales (UHW), in Cardiff, Ryan was diagnosed with Diamond-Blackfan anemia, a condition where the bone marrow fails to make enough red blood cells.
The function of red cells is to carry oxygen to the body’s tissues and without a suitable amount of them people can feel incredibly fatigued, weak, and can even die.
“When I was told he had the condition my heart just sank. I couldn’t stop crying,” Sam said. “Every three weeks we had to go to hospital for blood transfusions to keep him alive.”
Sam, from Caerphilly, said Ryan needed steroids and treatments to flush iron out of his body, which could have led to liver failure.
“He also suffered with the infection staphylococcus in July 2016, was very sick and left fighting for his life in high dependency.”
Poorly Ryan has also needed to pay regular visits to St Mary’s Hospital in London for specialist treatment.
“He has been really brave throughout his treatment. He’s lived his life in hospital and has missed so much school,” she added. “The nurses [at UHW] are fantastic. Any time we went to hospital they were there.”
After five years Ryan underwent a bone marrow transplant after a suitable donor was found, but needed chemotherapy first.
“We did try his younger sister Chloe first, but she wasn’t a suitable match. But Ryan was so lucky. Two, maybe even three matches were found for him within a week.
“Even though he was only five
Sam Brand with husband Mark and children Ryan and Chloe
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