Leukaemia breakthrough: 'It's good if we can help other families'
Sarah Murphy and her husband, Justin, a site manager in Bromley, Kent, have been through the pain of seeing one of their twin daughters diagnosed and treated for leukaemia. They are just one of about 500 couples whose children are diagnosed with the disease each year.
However, the unusual situation they found themselves in – with one daughter affected and the other apparently healthy – turned out to have a hidden benefit. Scientists were able to compare the DNA of the twins to see if they could tease out the possible reason why one twin, Olivia, contracted the disease while the other, Isabella, was unaffected.
"What we have always said is that anything that would improve the treatment we would be very, very happy to contribute to," said Mrs Murphy, 35. "We don't mind doing anything if it helps the research. Without the research we wouldn't have had the treatment available to us. If we can give something back we will."
Olivia is in remission but has become blind in one eye due to an infection brought on by the chemotherapy drugs that have to be used to eliminate the leukaemia cells from her body. "We have seen the families who have gone through all the chemotherapy," said Mrs Murphy. "Anything which leads to a lessening of the intensity of the chemotherapy which can help other families is a good thing.
"We have always said if it was going to happen, it happened to the right one, if you can say that. Olivia is a real toughie. She just gets on with it whether it is taking drugs or having treatment. Isabella is a real drama queen. You always know when she is ill. If it was to happen to Isabella, she would be more awkward.
"I don't think the other children at school are too aware of the treatment, although Olivia's eye is quite noticeable now.
"Olivia has been left shorter because of the treatment and her hair has grown back curly. Parents say to us: 'I thought you had identical twins', and I say 'We do'. But Olivia will grow."
Life & Style blogs
Apple expands reuse and recycle scheme, letting Android phones be swapped for iPhones
Replica Back to the Future Hoverboard released
When did the Eiffel Tower open to the public? Six things you didn't know about iconic structure
Pacman Google Maps: company offers chance to play classic arcade game on real streets
Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
- 1 Tidal launch: The most pretentious lines from Alicia Keys' valedictory speech
- 2 Britain First 'acting like Ukip henchmen' by invading meeting of activists in revenge for pub protest against Nigel Farage
- 3 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 4 Tidal: Jay Z's Spotify rival streaming service criticised for making wealthy artists even richer
- 5 Brixton squat flats now costing up to £3k per month show how out of control rent is in London
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading supplier of compliance software a...
£24000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Associate System Engineer r...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Executive Assistant is required to join a l...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...