Oxfordshire MP Backs Family’s ‘Swab to be a Lifesaver’ Mission

23 November 2017

On Friday 17 November, Ed Vaizey MP for Didcot and Wantage met with the adorable Ally Kim and parents Andrew and Judy, from Faringdon. The former Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries was very keen to hear about Ally’s fight with a blood disorder and our latest ‘Swab to be a Lifesaver’ campaign.

The Kim family with Ed Vaizey MP

Two cases in 10 years

Three-year-old Ally was diagnosed with Chronic Granulomatous Disorder (CGD) in February 2016. This extremely rare and life-threatening illness prevents the immune system from working properly. Ally’s condition is so rare the local hospital had only identified one previous case in the last 10 years!

Ally Kim

Due to low numbers of black Asian and mixed ethnicity (BAME) groups on the registry, the Kim’s mission to find a matching blood stem cell donor is made even more challenging because of Ally’s East Asian heritage. Blood stem cell donations from genetically similar people can often be the best hope of survival, but only one in three people will find a matching donor in their own family. Because we inherit our tissue types from both of our parents – there is a 30 % chance of having the same tissue type as siblings – Ally’s brother Micah was tested, but was not a successful match.

Ed’s Oxfordshire call to action

Although we’ve already registered 4,127 residents in Oxfordshire, Ed’s call to action addresses the urgent need for more potential lifesavers to come forward: Ed Vaizey said: “It was inspiring meeting the Kim family and hearing about Ally’s fight and the important work of DKMS. Despite everything they have been through they have found the determination to raise awareness for the charity and encourage people in the community to become potential lifesavers. I would encourage everyone to swab to be a potential lifesaver – you could help give someone with blood cancer a second chance of life.”

How you can help

We receive no government funding, but it costs us £40 to register a new potential blood stem cell donor and we recruit tens of thousands of these potential lifesavers every year. With your support we can continue our lifesaving work and register even more potential blood stem cell donors to help the likes of Ally and many others.

To help us cover donor registration costs please make a money donation or if you are aged 17-55 and in general good health you can register for your home swab kit.