Over 33,000 people have registered as potential blood stem cell donors with the blood cancer charity DKMS in 48 hours following the news that a second donor has been unable to donate to Ava Stark. Three year old Ava, from Lochgelly in Fife, has inherited bone marrow failure and needs a blood stem cell donation from a matching donor to save her life. A matching donor was found for Ava but unfortunately they were then unable to donate. Another donor was found but her family were devastated to be told this week that the second donor is now unable to donate for medical reasons.
Sarah Gray, donor recruitment manager at the charity, said:
“Tens of thousands of people have been so moved by what has happened to Ava, and all she has been through, that they have now registered to see if they could be a matching blood stem cell donor for her or another person seeking a donor to save their life. As you can stay registered until you are 61, and potentially match with and help save the life of a patient until then, the impact of this response will last decades.
“While this has been a great response, we need many more people to register. So please register, for Ava, and everyone who needs a blood stem cell donation for their survival.”
For many people with a blood cancer or blood disorder, a donation of blood stem cells from another person that enables their body to develop a healthy immune system is their best chance of staying alive. However, many are still dying as a result of blood cancers and blood disorders because they can’t benefit from this procedure because nobody with a compatible tissue type can be found. It doesn’t mean that there is nobody with a tissue type that is compatible to the patient who could save their life. There could be someone with a tissue type that matches the patient’s who could save their life, but tragically, they are not registered as a potential blood stem donor.
Those aged 17 to 55 can register in five minutes online and request a cheek swab kit that will enable you to do your own tissue test to complete the registration through the DKMS website: www.dkms.org.uk