The Gift Of Life At Christmas

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Christmas has always been an emotional time for me, to reflect on the year. But since 2007, it holds special meaning as the anniversary of my life-saving stem cell transplant. At age 51, I was battling stage 4 lymphoma. My only hope was a transplant, which took place on December 19th – donated by a selfless 22-year-old stranger.

I spent that Christmas in an isolation unit, away from family and festivities, as my immune system was destroyed then rebuilt. The incredible medical staff became my holiday companions. Though facing their own holiday sacrifices, they worked round-the-clock, so I had the best chance. Pictures of loved ones and my Crystal Palace shirt brought comfort.

I recall surreal holiday moments – the attractive head nurse donning a tiny Santa outfit at my cheeky request. The hospital distributed small gifts at midnight Christmas Eve. On the big day, friends and family filed in for a unique celebration.

Against the odds, that season marked my rebirth. Now at 67, though with the immune system of a 22-year old, I’ve seen 16 more Christmases. I’ve welcomed three grandchildren, and seen my sons grow. Spare time brings exciting new adventures, unimaginable during illness.

The festive season will never be the same. Each year I’m grateful for the gift I was given, and mourn friends not so fortunate. But watching others celebrate, I remember we can’t control what life brings. My timeline is forever changed by that holiday season.

I now advocate for cancer causes in my survivor’s role, reaching more people than ever imagined. My charity, SimPal, assists people across the UK affected by ‘Digital Poverty.’ Cancer took much, but also empowered me to create a fulfilling new life.

I’m thankful for the donor, NHS, my doctors, family and friends – all who gave, and continue to give, support during my journey. I wish you all happiness and health this season and always. Please take time to watch the attached video which explains the major changes in my life.


  1. Congratulations Chris and thank you for all you do for the cancer community.
    Speaking to you at the beginning of our own journey with my child’s diagnosis, gave us hope. Your story is inspirational and we are grateful to have our baby still with us 3 years later and counting.

    • Hi Tochi,

      Thank you so much for your kind words, I can’t believe it has been 3 years! I believe that we meet people for a reason, and this is further proof in my mind.
      So delighted things are positive this long further down the line.

      Life has been kind to us and by sharing my story I want to show others that anything is possible if we have hope.

      Fingers crossed for a positive 2024, and big love to you all, Chris

    • Hi Debs,

      Thanks so much for all your wonderful support over time.

      I plan to be more visible in 2024, particularly with my cancer work. Things are getting worse as we all know, and I will do my best to keeping poking those decision makers!

      Big love to you all and fingers crossed for a positive 2024, Chris

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