Antonio (Tony) Ferreira, 40, was diagnosed with Sézary syndrome (SS) in 2017. This rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma starts when certain white blood cells become cancerous and aggressively affect the skin. Tony was told by his doctors that his best hope of survival was a matching blood stem cell transplant.
Prior to falling ill, Tony lived a happy life working as a gardener on Jersey where he lives with wife Osvalda and their daughter. Tony’s four siblings were checked to see if they were a match for him, but unfortunately, none were. Tony now has to rely on the kindness of a stranger to give him a second chance of life.
Originally from Madeira, Tony’s Portuguese heritage makes it more difficult for him to find a matching blood stem cell donor. White northern European blood cancer patients have a 69 percent chance of finding a stem cell match from a stranger. But this drops to just 20 percent for those of black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.
Tony’s diagnosis means that he has to travel from his home to London on a fortnightly basis for specialist treatment. His case has become even more acute since the Covid-19 pandemic, as he is unable to travel to London for ongoing treatment.
Sadly, for thousands of patients, cancer doesn’t ease up – not even during a pandemic. However, you can safely help Antonio and others like him by simply ordering your home swab kit today.
Every 20 minutes, someone is diagnosed with blood cancer. This diagnosis is devastating, and during the corona virus outbreak, it is even more crucial that we do all we can to offer hope to people with blood cancer and blood disorders. We have seen the numbers of people joining the blood stem cell register decline dramatically in recent times, and now, more than ever before, we need you to sign up. For many, a blood stem cell donation is their best chance of recovery and only 30% of people find a match within their family. This means the remainder will need to find an anonymous blood stem cell donor, and that could be you.
A note about Coronavirus
We understand there are lots of worries and concerns around coronavirus and would like to reassure you that it is completely safe to request and send in your swabs.
If you're a match
If you are identified as a match, you will donate in one of two ways. In the majority of cases this is via a process called “Peripheral Blood Stem Cell collection”, which is a little like giving blood. In 10% of cases, the stem cells are taken from your bone marrow, under general anaesthetic. The method of donation is chosen by the patients team based on what is most suitable for them.
Together we will beat blood cancer.
To register as a blood stem cell donor, you need to be between 17-55, in general good health and not registered with another donor centre. To check your eligibility and request your swab kit, follow the link below.
It costs us £40 to register a new donor on the UK stem cell registry. As a charity, we rely on monetary donations from the public to help cover this cost and greatly appreciate any contribution, no matter how big or small.
If you are unable to register as a potential donor, we would be very grateful if you could consider making a contribution towards the cost of a registration.