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Tragic death moves Dagenham school pupils

PUBLISHED: 14:41 04 December 2009 | UPDATED: 10:54 11 August 2010

A NURSE who lost her fiancé to leukemia is throwing her weight behind a campaign that could help save the lives of other cancer sufferers. Catherine Lynch, a 26-year-old intensive care nurse, will head to Eastbrook School, in Dagenham, this Friday to talk

A NURSE who lost her fiancé to leukemia is throwing her weight behind a campaign that could help save the lives of other cancer sufferers.

Catherine Lynch, a 26-year-old intensive care nurse, will head to Eastbrook School, in Dagenham, this Friday to talk to six-formers about becoming a bone marrow donor.

In March this year her partner Chris Allen, a former Eastbrook pupil, died from leukemia at the age of 27, just days after the couple got engaged.

Catherine says that throughout his treatment, Chris, a bio-medical technician, would often speak of his wish to raise awareness about bone marrow donation when he had recovered from the cancer.

In January he underwent a transplant himself, but it was unsuccessful. His condition deteriorated rapidly and he died some weeks later.

Although a transplant didn't save Chris, Catherine says they can increase a leukemia patient's chances of survival by 60 per cent and she is now determined to help as many people as possible avoid the same fate as her fiancé.

She said: "Before Chris died we heard about the Anthony Nolan Trust, a charity which recruits bone marrow donors, and he told me he was keen to get involved in the work they do.

"He can't do that now, so I'm going to do it in his memory. I'm sure it's something he would have wanted."

Catherine, of Beansland Grove, Dagenham, has joined the trust's 'Register and Be a Lifesaver' campaign, which aims to educate sixth form students around the UK about blood, bone marrow and organ donation.

In June she held her first talk at Eastbrook School, where the response from students was "tremendous" she says.

She has now been invited back to the school, and will speak to another group of six formers on Friday.

Catherine, who sings in her spare time, has also recorded an album and is selling it online to raise proceeds for the trust and for leukaemia research. The CD includes a track dedicated to Chris called In My Heart, which she wrote days after his death.

"Throughout his illness Chris was such a fighter. I feel that by doing this I can carry on his fight," she said.

To listen to Catherine's music and to buy her CD go to www.catherinelynch.webs.com.


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