Greg and Alan in hospital
 Aug 25, 2020

"It was great to have the support of someone who knew what I was going through"

Bone marrow transplant recipients, Greg Pearsall and Alan McDowell didn’t know each other when they first got admitted to our ONJ Cancer Centre.

“Alan started his bone marrow transplant treatment a day after me and was in the room next to mine. My sister Jenny was my marrow donor, but Alan didn't have a match in the family and had to have donor cells flown in from Germany,” said Greg.

“We started talking while using the exercise bikes on Ward 7 South and realised we were going through the same thing,” said Greg.

“He just seemed like a great bloke and we got on. We’re both keen on fitness,” said Alan.

During their time on the ward they became great mates.

“It was great to have the support of someone who knew what I was going through," said Alan. 

“One of the allied health assistants encouraged other patients to join Alan and I in cycling, and then we had this wonderful community environment where we could support each other through our treatment. It was nice for us to have this sort of impact on others," said Greg. 

Alan was able to go home after 28 days in hospital, however Greg had to stay in hospital a bit longer.

They developed such a strong bond that when Greg's wife, Trish, was unable to visit him due to travel times from Ballarat and COVID-19 visitor restrictions, Alan and his wife Renee offered to help.

“Renee would bring icy poles to help keep Greg comfortable during some chemotherapy treatments and would wash his clothes.

“We’re so glad we were able to help in some way,” said Alan.

 Alan and Greg are now out of hospital and have their day oncology treatments together.

“They sit us next to each other and we get to catch up every Monday,”said Alan.

“We’ve supported each other through this time, and I would really like to keep in touch,” said Alan.

“I’m looking forward to catching up for a socially distanced coffee and a walk in the future,” said Greg.