THE FAMILY SHE ALWAYS HOPED FOR
At 24, Carryn Scott received a shocking diagnosis: leukaemia. An avid CrossFitter, runner, and hiker just about to finish her studies, the idea of a life-threatening disease seemed far removed from Carryn’s healthy, future-focused lifestyle. >When she began her treatment in Durban under the care of Dr. JP Singh, she was forced to give up that active lifestyle for the time being and shift her energies to surviving her new disease.
“Before a diagnosis, you know about leukaemia and transplants but you don’t know much about it,” she explains. “When you’re actually going through it, you realize there’s so much you have no knowledge about.” We hear this from so many of our patients and their families—that they had heard of blood cancers, but it’s only when you or a loved one gets diagnosed that you really start to understand what they’re all about, and how harrowing that diagnosis can really be. By sharing stories like Carryn’s, we hope to encourage everyone—even people who are currently healthy and whose loved ones are currently healthy—to help us in the fight against blood diseases and cancers, because you never know when you or someone you love might become that person in need.
During her treatment, Carryn encouraged her friends and family to treat her as normally as possible. “I never want people to feel sorry for me,” she says. “A lot of people see a leukaemia diagnosis as a death sentence and feel sorry for you, and I never wanted that.”
Carryn received her bone marrow transplant in Pretoria in October 2012, which cured her leukaemia. During her treatment, her boyfriend of seven years proposed, and eight months post-transplant they were married. Both Dr. Singh and his receptionist attended the wedding.
Carryn turns 34 this year, which will mark 10 years since her initial diagnosis. In October 2019, she celebrated her 8th year in remission. In those eight years, Carryn returned to and finished her studies and resumed working with her husband at her family’s accounting and auditing firm in Durban, travelling overseas frequently as they expand the business into the United Kingdom. The company does an annual fundraising campaign for the SABMR as a thank you for their assistance in finding Carryn’s donor. “They were such a great help to me and my family,” she says.
Carryn considers herself very fortunate for the support her family gave her – and continues to give her – every single day. “Even now, everyone knows when my appointment with my doctor is and how it went. I have a very strong family, and I’m very lucky for it.” To Carryn’s family and friends, on behalf of the entire SABMR family, I say thank you. I really do believe it takes a village, and I’m grateful that Carryn had such a strong and supportive village behind her in this fight.
In 2018, Carryn and her husband started a family of their own, welcoming their first child, Cole. Carryn laughs, saying, “Cole is easygoing and well behaved, but all children can be naughty and give you grey hairs. He’s ticking all the boxes!”
For Carryn, having Cole has been a wonderful gift after the illness that changed her life. “The biggest thing for me was to have a family one day,” she says. “To finally have that is absolutely amazing.” She and her husband recently welcomed a second child to the family in May.
A warm congratulations on the birth of your second child! How amazing that Cole is now a big brother. May both children bring even more light into your life!
Carryn hasn’t met her donor, but feels that every day she lives is a small thank you to her mystery match. “Living life and getting back to normal was what I wanted to do. I think that’s one of the biggest thank you’s that you can give your donor: to meet those important life milestones, to be grateful, and be kind to people you meet along the way.”
For Carryn, her victory over leukaemia really was the start of her happily ever after. And that wouldn’t have been possible without her bone marrow donor—an ordinary person who decided to register as a bone marrow donor. Thanks to that fateful decision, Carryn got her chance at a second life, and that ordinary person got the chance to be an extraordinary hero!
If you’re between the ages of 16 and 45, that extraordinary hero could be you. If you’re ready to help save a life, scroll up to the top of the page and click “Become a Donor”. There are thousands of people around the world waiting for that one miracle match—and it could be you!