Rachel Hammond

I am a patient at the Royal Free Hospital in London and a former patient of Great Ormond Street’s Children’s Hospital. I was born with a Primary Immunodeficiency and started immunoglobulin infusions for this when I was seven. Prior to this I was unwell most of the time which meant missing a lot of school and that I was lagging behind my peer group socially and academically. When I first started immunoglobulin infusions, I spent five hours attached to a drip in hospital every three weeks, which usually made me feel very unwell with headaches and sickness and would often stop benefiting me within the first week or two as my immunoglobulin blood levels decreased. As I grew older the time I was missing at school became more serious.

When I was ten I was asked to take part in a trial of new treatment, which meant I could infuse at home, once a week. This treatment was subcutaneous making it easier and quicker, as I no longer had to visit a hospital. It also delivered a better level of immunoglobulin, so that I had good blood levels all the time, rather ending the month with low levels, this gave me better resistance to infections and also meant that I was no longer subject to the headaches and sickness that I had been prone to. Subsequently it was given a UK licence.

I still self-infuse once a week, being on this treatment has meant that I was able to catch up with my peers, I achieved my Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, an A* and two A’s at A-Level and am I am now studying Occupational Therapy at the University of East Anglia in Norwich. I have many supportive friends and live with my boyfriend. I am also active and enjoy swimming, climbing and running. These are all things which I would not have been able to do without the treatment and the tremendous support I have received over the years from Great Ormond Street and the Royal Free which I transferred to when I was sixteen.