London 2012 Olympics volunteer: Urgent appeal for people to register as donors, to help young mum following her relapse

An appeal to help find a matching blood stem cell donor for a London 2012 Olympics volunteer from Dorset has become more urgent following a relapse of the leukaemia that she had. The appeal is being made for young mum, 23-year-old May Brown, who urgently needs a blood stem cell donation from someone with a matching tissue-type. As her leukaemia has just returned more aggressively than before, her doctors have told her that she will need the blood stem cell donation as soon as she goes into remission, which they hope will happen again soon.

Urgent appeal Blood cancer charities ACLT (African-Caribbean Leukaemia Trust) and DKMS have come together to appeal for people to register as potential blood stem cell donors to help find a matching donor for May and anyone in need of a lifesaving donation. May was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in June last year. For many with a blood cancer or blood disorder, a blood stem cell donation from another person is their only chance of survival.

As May’s heritage is Nigerian, those with a similar heritage are urged in particular to join the registry, as this is likely to provide the most suitable match for her. The importance of people who share May’s West African heritage registering is underscored by the fact that, while close to a quarter of potential donors in the UK are from minority ethnic backgrounds, patients from these backgrounds continue to have difficulty in finding suitable donors due to a disproportionate lack of available donors.

May’s family May has one child, a two-year-old daughter called Selina-May, who she wants to see grow up. Urging people to register, she says: “Please register today as a potential blood stem cell donor. Do it, if not for my sake, but for the sake of my little girl. She is only two years old and needs her mummy. Your selfless act of registering could ultimately save my life and those of other people suffering from blood cancer or blood disorders.”

Supporting his wife’s appeal, May’s husband Michael says: “Please register to help my beautiful wife May. It is so easy to register as a potential blood stem cell donor. It takes a few minutes to do and it could lead to you giving decades to May, which our small family are praying so desperately for.”

How people can help Beverley De-Gale, ACLT co-founder, said “Due to May’s unfortunate relapse, her search for a matched stem cell donor is even more urgent than before. If you are of West African descent, I urge you to step forward while encouraging your family and friends to do the same. Join the stem cell register today by providing a cheek swab to help potentially save May’s life.”

Emphasising how important it is for people to register, Lisa Nugent, donor recruitment manager at DKMS, said: “A matching blood stem cell donor needs to be found for May urgently, so please take a few minutes to help her and other people seeking a lifesaving match. Registering as a potential blood stem cell donor is so easy to do, but I can’t emphasise enough how important it is. It could lead to you saving a life.”

Those aged 17 to 55 can register as potential blood stem cell donors via the DKMS website