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I Received Blood

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Rhiannon's Story


My name is Rhiannon Nottage and I am 16 years old. On May 7th 2014, when I was 14, I was diagnosed with AMPL, a rare form of leukaemia. Unfortunately my GP missed my diagnosis and I ended up in the Wellington Emergency Department. I was vomiting blood and bleeding in my eyes.

I was immediately hooked up to plasma, platelets and haemoglobin back to back in the Emergency department. I had these lifesaving products constantly for two days, then just platelets and haemoglobin then for the next couple of weeks until I stabilized. I continued to receive platelets and haemoglobin throughout my chemotherapy.

Upon diagnosis my white blood cell count was 13,000. It should be five! They had to put a new box on the chart for me and because of this, unfortunately, I needed an extra cycle of intensive chemo.

At 4am on the date of my diagnosis I had a brain scan to make sure my brain hadn’t bled. They then transferred me up to Intensive Care where I spent four days before I was stable enough to move to Christchurch. I spent five weeks in isolation in Christchurch and was then able to move to Ronald McDonald House where I lived with Mum for a further six months. I spent seven months away from my home and friends for treatment while my Dad and younger sister (aged 12 at the time) had to stay at home in Kapiti. It was really hard on our family.

From the date of diagnosis until the end of my intensive treatment I received approximately 50 lifesaving blood transfusions of plasma, platelets and haemoglobin. Some children go through their treatment with one or two transfusions.

Without NZ Blood Service and the wonderful people who donate across NZ on a daily basis I would not be here.