TWO sisters from Rhuddlan discovered they are identical twins in the search for a stem cell transplant for one of them.

Lizzie Hunter, known affectionately as Lil, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in January this year, and underwent rounds of chemotherapy before ‘technically’ going into remission in May, before relapsing/becoming refractory recently.

Due to the aggressive nature of this type of cancer, remission would not be the end of treatment, with a stem cell transplant required to give her a chance of fully beating it.

Her sister Lauran said: “This type of cancer is so aggressive that her blood test in October of 2021 shows no signs of it.

“Lil was extremely unwell and admitted to A&E following partially losing sight in one eye.

Rhyl Journal: Lauran was a match, but could not donate to Lizzie due to their identical immune system.Lauran was a match, but could not donate to Lizzie due to their identical immune system. (Image: Lauran Bate)

“Upon diagnosis in A&E, she was transferred to her first specialist hospital and not allowed to leave hospital for three months as it was unsafe.”

Despite going into remission in May, Lil’s cancer has relapsed, and she is now undergoing immunotherapy in the hope that she gets into remission ready for a stem cell transplant.

Lil would have been eligible to undergo the transplant sooner, but suffered a deranged liver from chemotherapy drugs, which deemed a stem cell transplant too dangerous at the time.

However, finding a match has proven difficult, and the sisters discovered something surprising when Lauran had bone marrow tests – they are identical twins.

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“After genetic testing were told she was standard risk - they were only going to do a stem cell transplant if I was a match,” said Lauran.

“I am a match but DNA testing showed we’re identical twins - we never knew this.

“We have the same immune system, which means I can't donate.”

The family are now appealing for more people to join the stem cell register, and have taken part in a number of fundraisers (with more planned) for the Anthony Nolan Charity 'just in case' she ever needed a stem cell transplant.

Without a matchable stem cell donation, there is ‘no chance of beating it’, Lauran says.

She added that due to the rarity of the cancer, there is difficulty in its prognosis, adding: “We don’t discuss prognosis, typically this is an extremely difficult cancer to treat.

“Essentially chemotherapy has stopped working and immunotherapy is a bridge to a stem cell transplant, so without a stem cell match there’s no chance of beating it

“The prognosis is extremely difficult to figure out at every stage as her subtype of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia is extremely rare.

“It’s called near-tetraploidy and makes up less than one per cent of all diagnosis. Because of this there’s not enough literature or case studies to figure out the prognosis.”

“At the start they thought it’d be standard risk, which completes the three years of chemotherapy. Now it’s classed as high risk.”

Every £40 raised helps put a new donor on the stem cell register, and if you are ever a match, it is normally as easy as giving blood.

Anyone aged between 16 and 30 can sign up through Anthony Nolan to be added to the register at

If you're aged under 55, you can apply through DKMS here: