Parklands College pupil Luke Parker was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder passed his matric with a bachelor pass. Photo supplied.
Parklands College pupil Luke Parker was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder passed his matric with a bachelor pass. Photo supplied.

A rare blood disorder and 2 bone marrow transplants didn’t stop Luke Parker from passing matric

By Zodidi Dano Time of article published Mar 11, 2021

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JUST a day before he started his final year of high school, Parklands College pupil Luke Parker was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder.

The 19 year old underwent two bone-marrow transplants but when the list of pupils with bachelor passes was released, he made sure his name was not left out.

This is a touching story of how determination and perseverance can get you through everything.

Luke on January 14, was told by doctors that he suffered from Fanconi Anaemia, a rare but serious blood disorder that prevents your bone marrow from making enough new blood cells for your body to work normally.

He was told he needed an urgent transplant but struggled to find a 100% match, the family and doctors then had to do the surgery with 50% donor match.

“After chemotherapy and radiation he had the transplant in late February but unfortunately he had graft failure.

“He had no choice but to have another transplant.

“He had the second transplant on the April 8, followed by more chemo and radiation therapy treatments, and eventually, the graft proved successful,” his mother Karen Parker shared.

He was told there was a six months recovery time.

Luke had to do all his school work independently, online.

He relied on his peers and teachers to send him regular updates.

His mother recalls times when he was too weak to do any school work.

One of the hardest things for Luke was the isolation in the Bone Marrow Transplant unit.

He was not allowed any visitors, except myself and my husband.

“On days that he felt strong enough, he logged on to attend classes online,” said Karen. After months of hospitalisation, Luke was discharged, on his birthday April 28.

“His school were incredibly supportive and we discussed the various options available to Luke, which included splitting his matric year or even writing exams in 2021.

“Luke expressed his determination to write matric and to finish this year with his friends and we met with the Parklands College educators who helped him draft a plan to work through the holidays to catch up on all the work he missed while he was in hospital.”

Karen recalls seeing her son work night and day to complete his matric.

“Some of his exams dates were very close and it tired him tremendously, but he pushed through because he never lost sight of his goal,” she said.

However, it was his love for music and the support of family and friends that counted the most.

“Luke says that he had a ‘bad’ start to 2020, so he was determined to flip things around and for the year to end well.

“He was also keen to act as a motivator for those around him,” she said.

Luke had always wanted to work on the superyachts in his gap year since he was very young, but cannot due to him not getting the necessary medical certificate.

He will use the rest of the year deciding what he will do next, but he contemplates working part-time

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