This October will be 3 years since my stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor – a kind person on the registry that was able to save my life. When I think about that – it really hits me that this time 3 years ago, I wouldn’t know if I would make it this far. My time wasn’t promised, no ones is, but with the gift from my donor, I’ve been able to recover in more ways than I expected.
Much has happened in those three years – a pandemic no less – but also an appreciation for life at its core. I’ve been able to have so many experiences that I wouldn’t have gotten to see otherwise. I’ve hiked alone through South Australia’s Heysen Trail to raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation, I’ve retrained as a Yoga Teacher and found a community of beautiful souls I’m lucky enough to call my friends around my new home. I’ve been able to help support, even on the smallest scale, others going through a cancer experience by sharing some of my journey, both online and through holding community yoga classes.
One of the things that hit me most was the realisation that it’s the little things that matter most – whilst I would love to travel and see more wonders of the world, the things I love and cherish are spending time with my loved ones, seeing the kids in my life grow up, and enjoying the little experiences – the beach walks, the camping trips under the stars, a hike in nature, laughing over coffees with friends. I think having an experience like mine makes you re-evaluate and have a lasting joy and wonder of the world around us and the connections we make with others. I’ll never forget the kindness I was shown by my community when I was diagnosed and going through treatment, and I try and extend the same values and compassion to others I encounter. Similarly, I will never forget or take for granted the generosity and selflessness my donor showed in sacrificing their time to donate their stem cells to a stranger. Not only in doing so have they saved my life, but they created a ripple effect – the act of compassion and thoughtfulness they held for me is something I try and emulate in the interactions I have with others.
I hope in some way this beams out even further so that by a knock-on effect, my donor has not only helped me but many, many others. Words don’t go as far as I would like to express how truly grateful I am to have been gifted this extra time.
Sophie is sharing her amazing journey on Instagram – @Sophiegrayyoga – you can follow her to keep updated on her travels and living her life post transplant.