Woman saved by ‘secret’ sister

Doris and Pat

Doris (L) and sister Pat

A Bishopstoke woman’s family is preparing to take on the BUPA Great South Run for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research to raise money for research into the disease that led her to find the sister that she never knew she had.

Doris Adams’ husband, Nigel, along with her two children, Paul and Sally, and Sally’s partner Rob will run the 10-mile challenge in Portsmouth on Sunday, October 30 to help the charity’s life-saving research into beating blood cancers including lymphoma, leukaemia and myeloma.

Doris’ mother was killed when she was tiny. She grew up living with her aunt and her four sons and it wasn’t until she was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) in 1987 that she found out her cousin, Pat, was actually her sister.

A young mum with two small children at the time, Doris says: “I remember the day that I was diagnosed and the doctor asking me if I had any siblings who could be a potential bone marrow match and I said that I didn’t.

“After I was diagnosed I told my aunt and I’ll never forget when she said the words ‘why don’t you find your sister?’ and I replied that I didn’t know I had a sister”.

Doris’ mum died in a car crash when she was ten months old. Doris went to live with their aunt while Pat went to live with her grandparents. Doris grew up believing Pat was her cousin.

Pat had moved out of their grandparents’ home aged just 15 and hadn’t kept in touch with the family.

Doris says:

“We tracked down an old phone number for Pat. She didn’t live there anymore but fortunately the person who bought the house was a friend of Pat’s who contacted her for us.

“It was a very emotional and friendly reunion.”

The sisters met up, Doris told Pat about her leukaemia and asked if she would be a donor.

Doris says:

“Straight away she said ‘of course I will. Luckily our bone marrow was a perfect match.”

Over 20 years has passed since Doris had a bone marrow transplant and looking back she says: “It’s really quite sad as Pat didn’t have a very good upbringing. But now we are making up for the years that we lost and talk every day on the phone.”

Doris is sitting this run out although she and her son’s partner, Jayne, completed the three-mile Race for Life earlier this year. Husband Nigel, who is running in the Great South Run for the second time this year said: “As a family we want to give something back to charity and help fund research so other families can beat blood cancer like mine did.”

The Adams family hope to raise over £600 to help beat blood cancer. You can support them by visiting their justgiving page: www.justgiving.com/nigeladams2

The family will run as a part of the charity’s running team, well known for their bright yellow t-shirts, and sponsored by TV Times and Adidas. Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research is the official charity of the BUPA Mini and Junior Great Run Series and this year Emmerdale’s very own ‘Belle Dingle’, 14-year-old Eden Taylor Draper, will be there to start the junior race and take part.

Kate White, Director of Fundraising at Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, says:

“Best of luck to the family when they take on the Great South Run. Every penny raised will mean more lives saved from blood cancers, including leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma.”

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