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CANCER AGONY OF ROBBIE'S PRINCESS; Johanna's only hope lies with a transplant.


THE leukaemia sufferer who melted the heart of Robbie Williams is losing her battle with the deadly illness.

Johanna MacVicar, who has been in remission for several years, now faces a desperate battle for life.

Her only chance of survival is a bone marrow transplant.

But the 26-year-old has been told, despite a world wide bone marrow register of 6.5 million people, no match has been found for her so far.

Johanna refuses to give up though. She has vowed to throw her energy in to finding more lifesaving donors for the Anthony Nolan bone marrow register.

She said: ``I can't just sit at home staring at four walls and do nothing. I have to get the message out there that you have it in you to save a life.''

TirelesslyThis time last year, Johanna, from Bishopton, Renfrewshire, was on a round-the-world trip. She campaigned tirelessly to raise thousands of pounds for fellow sufferers.

Her greatest triumph was inspiring Robbie Williams to sign up after they met at a concert. The pair have been pals ever since.

Johanna said: ``Robbie is a lovely guy. He doesn't act like a superstar at all when you meet him.

``Instead, he's interested in you and genuinely wants to know how he can help. He calls occasionally for a chat.''

She also received backing from Rangers legends Ally McCoist and Barry Ferguson.

Johanna is close to Scotsactor Dougray Scott as well. She met him as he prepared for a role as a leukaemia sufferer in his film Ripley's Game.

She said: ``He's shocked that the leukaemia is back. But the news has made him even more determined to encourage more bone marrow donors.''

Last night, Dougray said: ``I am very saddened to hear that Johanna's leukaemia is back.

``However, I know Johanna very well and she is a great fighter. I have no doubt she will get better.

``The need for support from the public is greater than ever.''

Dougray was guest of honour at an Anthony Nolan ball in Glasgowthat Johanna organised earlier this month which raised more than pounds 30,000 for the charity.

Just days ago, a check-up confirmed leukaemia cells were back in her body.

Johanna said: ``I've cried tears of frustration that this disease I've been clear of for so long has come back.''

First diagnosed with myeloid leukaemia at 16, she knows her only real hope is a bone marrow transplant. Johanna, who has a rare tissue group, has already had one transplant fail.

She spent Christmas in an isolation ward after the operation.

Johanna, whose weight plungedto six-and-a-half stones, said: ``I was cut off from the world for 10 weeks and it was a very lonely time.

``I remember sitting there with a Santa cap on my bald head feeling sorry for myself.

``People are going through that right now and it's worth sparing a thought for them.''

Of the 6.5 million people on the register of donors, not one is a match for Johanna so far.

She said: ``It would be a chance in a million to find my perfect match.''

Potential donors must be aged 18-40, in good health and weigh more than eight stone. If you can help, call the Anthony Nolan Trust hotline on 0901 88 22 234.


PALLY WITH ALLY: Johanna; with football star Ally McCoist; MY ANGEL: Johanna with close pal Robbie Williams, left, and, above, with movie hunk Dougray Scott who helped her raise charity cash
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 19, 2003
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