Annette’s journey began with a tooth ache, then a blood test and following a visit to the Emergency department at The Alfred she learned she had Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML).
Annette had never heard of AML but with the constant support from her husband and a positive attitude she battled through chemotherapy, experiencing the cruel reality of some of her fellow patients who did not survive. Annette then required a bone marrow transplant and after difficulty finding a match was finally able to thank a donor in Germany for saving her life. Annette and her husband began to enjoy their retirement but after 18 months the cancer returned. However, given the high levels used previously, chemotherapy was no longer a treatment option.
Through guidance from her haematologist Dr Andrew Wei, Annette participated in a clinical trial. She explains that there was no other path and would not survive without the trial. For 24 months she continued her treatments and has now been in remission for four years. She discovered years after the first Alfred visit that she was only expected to live two to three weeks.
Annette’s message to researchers is to keep working hard, “don’t give up and keep positive”. She realises that without a clinical trial she would not be here. As for the donors who funded the trial, she is extremely grateful and acknowledges that without these donors, trials would not be possible. From Annette’s perspective, “it would be the most beautiful thing to be able to do.”
The Snowdome Foundation is passionate about Australian blood cancer patients gaining access to next-generation treatments through clinical trials. To date, 8 clinical trials have opened with Snowdome support.