Monday, March 26, 2007

Simon Pretty

The sad story of Simon Pretty, an Englishman dying of leukemia:

Father-of-three Simon Pretty is likely to die from leukaemia within months unless he receives a transplant.

His sister Helen, 43, is a perfect match but he says she has turned down the chance to save his life. Without the donation Mr Pretty – who has a rare tissue type – could be dead by the end of the year leaving his wife Jacqueline to raise their children Rebecca, eight, Jack, six and Benjamin, three.


Helen Pretty’s Cheshire home is less than ten miles away from the British Transplantation Society which campaigns to promote organ and bone marrow donation.

Her brother claims she agreed to be a donor after he was first diagnosed with the rare cancer, acute promyelocytic leukaemia, in July 2004. He went into remission but then suffered a relapse in February by which time she had changed her mind, he says.

The pair have never been close although their children are similar ages and play together.

Mr Pretty’s wife Jacqueline said: "It is appalling that Helen can stand by and watch her brother die knowing that she could do something to help him. The past few months have been hell."

Mrs Pretty approached her sister-in-law in an attempt to change her mind but lost her temper and was eventually arrested. No charge was brought.

Jacqueline Pretty said: "She opened the front door halfway and I told her that things were desperate and the children thought their daddy was going to die. She said 'Sorry, I am not doing it'. I asked her to give me a reason and she said 'I am putting my family first'.

"I explained that there were no risks involved. I was so upset and I said, 'Don’t you care if your brother dies?' She said 'It’s very sad', and smirked."

The Pretty siblings apparently have some issues between them not mentioned in the story that have influenced his sister's decision. But do any of you have an immediate family member that you dislike so much that if you were their only hope to continue living, you would let them die?

I had two younger brothers. Both are now deceased. The middle brother was born with congenital heart problems. Were he born today, they could perform open heart surgery that would have corrected the problems he had, but those techniques were not available in the early 60's. He died at age 3.

My youngest brother was diagnosed with a brain tumor at age 30. They could only remove 60% of the tumor through surgery. The rest was kept in remission through chemotherapy for seven years before it resumed growing with a vengeance. He died on his 39th birthday.

If I could, I would have given anything to give my younger brothers a chance at a longer life. I can't understand people like Helen Pretty.