Morecambe teenager’s shot at life

Rachel Simpson as a Morecambe FC mascot.
Rachel Simpson as a Morecambe FC mascot.
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A battling teen has celebrated news of a life-saving bone marrow transplant by having the weekend of her life.

Rachel Simpson was mascot at Morecambe Football Club’s final game of the season on Saturday and in the front row at the Morecambe Carnival pop concert on Sunday. Her exciting 48 hours came days after she was told a matching donor has been found in America for her transplant.

Rachel, 15, has been diagnosed with a mutated GATA2 gene which, if untreated will lead to leukaemia, a form of blood cancer which can kill. But the laidback Heysham High School pupil has not allowed her condition to stop her from living life to the full.

Rachel came out with the Shrimps team before their match with Southend United, kicked a ball around the Globe Arena pitch and posed for photos with striker Jack Redshaw.

Then on Sunday she was at the front of a packed crowd in the Bay Arena for the carnival pop music show, where she clapped and cheered her favourites including pop bands Everyoung and Stereo Kicks.

Her mum Donna said laid back Rachel took news of the donor in her stride.

She said: “She’s just the same.

“She will have the transplant either at the end of May or early June, depending on logistics and getting the bone marrow harvested.

“The donor is a woman from America. She was on a bone marrow register, we don’t know which one.”

Although Rachel has been trying to live a normal life as much as possible, she has been suffering from swelling on her legs, which has spread to her bowels.

She will also soon have her beautiful long red hair cut off.

Donna will also have a haircut and both of their hair will be made into a special wig for Rachel to wear during chemotherapy.

The wig will cost thousands so a fund raising event will be held this Sunday afternoon at Heysham High from noon to 4pm.

The ‘Rachel’s Recovery’ event will include bouncy castles, pony rides, stalls, auction, car boot sale, cake, refreshments and much more.

They are looking to raise £5,000 in total with a campaign called Rachel’s Recovery.

Donna thanked Heysham High School and Great Wood primary school, who recently held a non-uniform day for Rachel’s campaign.

Anyone who would like to donate raffle prizes or auction lots for the event can get in touch with Donna through the ‘Rachel’s Recovery’ Facebook page.