A woman who has spent the last 15 years fighting cancer says she is “cautiously optimistic” for the future after a stem cell transplant – and a marriage proposal.
Heather Parkinson, 33, received the proposal from boyfriend Patrick Goulden on the day she left hospital after her second transplant, for which her mum was the donor.
Heather, who lives in Queensway, Leyland, is now planning her upcoming wedding in June and is also enjoying being an auntie to her sister’s twin girls who were born eight months ago.
After the tumultous 15 years Heather has endured, she is enjoying a time of happiness.
Heather, who owns a pet shop in Kirkham, said: “There are lots of nice happy things happening in my life at the moment.
“This time last year, I did not know what was going to happen as I was having chemotherapy in preparation for my second stem cell transplant for which my mum was the donor.
“My sister Shelley donated for my bone marrow transplant and when the cancer returned, I was given several infusions of Shelley’s lymphocytes but it reached a point where I had had the maximum dose from Shelley and the only other option was another transplant.”
Heather’s mum Sheila Parkinson donated bone marrow to Heather for the transplant and Heather says words cannot express how grateful she is to her “best friend.”
The transplant was a success and when Heather’s boyfriend Patrick proposed on the day she left hospital, she was overjoyed.
Heather said: “As soon as I met Patrick, we just clicked and had a connection.
“We have both been through things and just get each other. We are very similar yet very different at the same time.
“My dogs took to him straight away and that is like the ultimate endorsement!”
Heather and Patrick will be getting married at a registry office before having a week long wedding celebration in the Lake District.
As well as looking forward to her marriage, Heather is enjoying being an aunty to her sister Shelley’s twin daughters Felicity and Scarlett
She said: “I am still struggling with depression and anxiety but I am slowly getting there. I am cautiously optimistic about the future, but with my past experience, I know things can change very quickly.
“The great things happening in my life now have only been made possible because of my sister and my mum for being my donors. I am so grateful to them and saying ‘thank you’ just simply isn’t enough.
“But I think they both know how much I appreciate what they have done.
“It is lovely to actually be able to think about the future.”