Eamon Leonard sez:
I know you don’t normal do this, but maybe one of the Broadsheet readers could be a match for Nikki (above)?
My name is Nikki and I’m making a global appeal to find a stem cell donor for a bone marrow transplant. I live in the UK, I’m 45 years old and my husband and I have two children, aged 7 and 4.
I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia on 3 December 2013. In January 2014 I was told that my disease has a rare cytogenetic abnormality called the ten-eleven translocation, which put me at a high risk of relapse following chemotherapy.
Therefore my best chance of a cure is to have a bone marrow transplant. This was originally scheduled for April 2014 but things have now become very complicated.
As I’ve gone through this journey, more and more complications have arisen.
Firstly, my ethnic background: my wonderful parents are quite an exotic mix: my mother is Anglo-Burmese and my father is Irish. In bone marrow transplants, ethnicity really matters and when you belong to a relatively rare grouping like this, your chances of finding a donor can be quite low.
Sadly, although both my brothers leapt into the breach to offer themselves as donors, they don’t match me (it’s only a one in four chance for siblings to be a match). However, a donor was found in France who was a 9/10 match and we thought all was well.
But now we get to the final complication: I have a lot of extremely aggressive antibodies. This was discovered during the final matching test of my blood with the donor’s.
The wonderful transplant team at King’s College Hospital in London have tried to find donated umbilical cords which will match with me, but there aren’t any that match that would also get past the antibodies. So I’m stuck.
I found out that the relapse has happened and my best hope for the long term is to find a 10/10 donor.
I am desperately seeking
people of a similar ethnic background to volunteer as potential stem cell donors through their national registry. The best chance is probably to find someone Anglo-Burmese and Irish, but it could be Anglo-Indian, or any Anglo-Asian mix – my consultant told me to try to get as many people as possible to sign up! Anyone in particular with a Portuguese type surname in their blood line would be a good possibility, as that’s my background.
In the UK, this can be with the Anthony Nolan Trust for those aged 16-30, with Delete Blood Cancer or with the British Bone Marrow Registry. Outside the UK, please see the list of Bone Marrow Registers.