#Shake4Mike: 'I wanted to be his rock in return'

He was still waiting to hear back from a job interview, so I assumed it was about that and I got really excited, she says. I tried to ring a few times, and eventually I got through over quite a patchy line. He said, 'I think Ive got leukaemia. When you hear those words, you know how serious it is. I just told him, 'Im going to get home as quickly as I can.

The news that followed was devastating. Mike, 29, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and is currently undergoing intense chemotherapy six times a week at Bristol Royal Infirmary. Such is the severity of his condition that doctors have said he needs a stem-cell transplant to save his life and time is running out.

As has been widely reported this week, his family, who live in Somerset, have only until the start of July, when his chemotherapy course ends, to find a suitable donor. Normally a third of people requiring the operation are able to find a sibling match. All of his three brothers have already been tested, but none has been successful.

He and his loved ones are now searching the Anthony Nolan stemcell donor register for a match with a stranger willing to help. The charity warns, however, that it can normally find a suitable donor for only around half the people who need a life-saving stem-cell transplant.

Kate, as a result, has taken matters into her own hands. This week, she launched a public campaign for people to sign up to the register, urging social media users to post silly videos of themselves shaking their faces from side to side something the couple used to film each other doing to promote the campaign she has called #Shake4Mike.

Her hope, of course, is that more signatories to the register will boost her fiancs chances of finding a donor and she has been inundated with responses. Some have been so funny theyve made me laugh out loud.

Indeed, in conversation, the Nottingham University graduate is strikingly upbeat and resilient. But optimism in the face of tragedy is a skill she has already been forced to master. In 2005, her 59-year-old father, David, died suddenly at the family home in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, after developing a blood clot following an operation on a hip he had broken skiing. He had just eaten his Sunday roast and walked on his crutches to the living room and died.

A few weeks later, her grandparents followed him. In 2008 her mother, Ali, invited her best friend, Simon Blackett, to move in to help support the family. Within two months, the 38-year-old suffered a fatal brain haemorrhage.

It was a year after this latest loss that the couple first met. Kate says her fianc has helped turn her life around and that, ever since she received that phone call in Burma, she has been determined to be his rock in return.

Still, the journey home was in itself enough to test her emotional strength. She remembers a horrendous 48-hour blur of buses and planes. Mum picked me up straight from Heathrow and drove me to the hospital. I thought when I saw her Id break down, but shes really strong and that helped so much. When I got to the hospital and saw him he looked pale, but other than that it was just a relief to be with him, says Kate.

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#Shake4Mike: 'I wanted to be his rock in return'

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