London woman with leukaemia asks people to help save her life by registering as potential blood stem cell donors

13 July 2016

A woman from London who has leukaemia is appealing for people to register as potential blood stem cell donors with the charity DKMS. The appeal is being made by 48 year old Venessa Taylor, who needs to find a matching donor to save her life. Venessa was diagnosed with leukaemia in February this year and has been told that she needs a blood stem cell donation from someone with a matching tissue-type to stay alive.

For many with a blood cancer or blood disorder, a blood stem cell donation from another person is their only chance of survival and they will die if a matching donor isn’t found for them. As Venessa’s heritage is Afro-Caribbean, 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.

Venessa has three daughters, and the youngest is only seven years old. She has been a teacher in Hackney and Tottenham for almost 23 years, and is deputy head of a primary school in Hackney. Urging people to register, she says: "The world is so much bigger than me and there must be a reason why leukaemia found me. I want to live. I have so much to live for. There is a huge lack of awareness about stem cell donation within our community and I want to help change that. If you have an opportunity to save someone’s life in such a simple way, why wouldn’t you do it?’ Please take the time to do it as it could be one of the most important things you ever do."

Emphasising how important it is for people to register, Aga Chrosciel, donor recruitment manager at DKMS, said: “Registering as a potential blood stem cell donor only takes a few minutes but it could lead to you giving decades to someone else. It could lead to you saving Venessa’s life or the life of someone else in need of a blood stem cell donation for his or her survival. Please take the time to do it as it could be one of the most important things you ever do.”

You can register in five minutes online and request a cheek swab kit that will enable you to do your own tissue test to go on the database to maybe one day become a blood stem cell donor through the DKMS website: www.dkms.org.uk