Back in September 2015, Claire Daly and husband Matt were looking forward to a planned three-week break in Florida, their first vacation in years. Visiting Disneyland and Universal Studios was supposed to be fun, yet Claire couldn’t shake off a constant feeling of weakness and loss of appetite. As it would turn out, this was not going to be the relaxing trip they were hoping for.
At first, doctors told her that symptoms of tiredness and fatigue were most likely due to the long flight and recommended more rest. Her condition worsened and eventually couldn’t even get out of bed. Rushed to the hospital once more, Claire was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.
From then on, everything moved really fast. The initial shock was amplified by the news that the first round of chemotherapy was ineffective. It had left her nauseous and with her hair falling off. Even though the disease was advancing quickly and was threatening her life, it couldn’t take away hope.
By December, after two more courses of chemo, the cancer was finally going into remission, although this is not where the story ends. Mrs. Daly now needed a bone marrow transplant to reboot her immune system and the operation comes with considerable risks on its own.
From all the pain and grief, something positive did come out. 22-year-old Imogen Riddett, who donated some of her bone marrow, is now Claire’s “DNA sister”, as the two like to say. They have struck a close friendship and often talk about the remarkable experience that brought them together. The Dalys returned to their normal life, shaken but stronger than ever.
Claire’s account proves once again just how important emotional support and having a positive mindset can be for cancer patients.