Saving a life is easy says mum

Helping to save lives: Teneille McBain with her mother Sherrie.
Helping to save lives: Teneille McBain with her mother Sherrie.

She launched the cause after her six-year-old daughter Teneille was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) five years ago.

The mother-of-three wants people to donate blood, bone marrow and stem cells, then spread the word about how easy it is to give.

Sherrie saw how crucial blood transfusions were during her daughter’s treatment.

ALL is a type of cancer that affects blood and bone marrow and is characterised by an overproduction of immature white blood cells called lymphoblasts, which crowd the bone marrow preventing it from making normal blood cells.

Mrs McBain said people with acute leukaemia needed blood donations the most, but often there was a wait because people needing transfusions outweighed the number of people donating.

‘One in three people will require blood in their lifetime,’ she said. ‘Yet only one in 30 people donate blood.

‘Teneille required many transfusions during treatment and at times had to wait for blood to arrive from the Eastern States.

‘To treat one person with acute leukaemia for one month, 18 people need to donate blood.

‘My mother-in-law is also currently receiving transfusions for relapsed acute myelogenous leukaemia (AML).

‘I am hearing more and more of people in need of blood and bone marrow, especially rare types.’

Mrs McBain said once Teneille was finally diagnosed, at age one, it was devastating to hear she had a rare type of cancer.

‘I had a very hard time getting her diagnosed,’ she said.

‘For nearly seven weeks she was feverish and had constant viruses and infections and had unknown rashes.

‘She couldn’t walk anymore, her legs were sore and she had lumps in her neck.

‘She was very lifeless, she didn’t want to play anymore, she was very clingy and just wanted to lie on the couch all day.

‘Looking back it was all the symptoms of leukaemia.

‘I know now a mother’s instinct is always right ” I didn’t know it was something as serious but I did know something serious was going on.’

Teneille’s father Neil said after she had her first blood transfusion she got her colour back and was jumping around again.

‘When she got the blood, she was fantastic. It really brought her back,’ he said.

With Teneille now in remission after about three years of treatment, Mrs McBain urged everyone to support her in raising awareness of how easy and important it is to give blood and register for bone marrow donation.

‘This campaign is about us all doing something selfless to help others,’ she said.

‘Before leukaemia came into our life, I was ignorant about many things.

‘Now I am trying to share my awareness and spread the word.

‘I knew nothing about the bone marrow registry and how relatively simple it was to donate bone marrow and ultimately save someone’s life.

‘One person can’t do everything but everyone can do something.’ For more information, go to