“Until my diagnosis in May 2020, I never really thought cancer would get me. I was busy being a dad, looking after my family and working. I worked hard as a photographer and making videos, meeting people and feeling very lucky that my work has taken me all around the world. Before having kids, I loved nothing more than partying and dancing and having the occasional little drink. And I wish I still could.”
Following his diagnosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Hedley has already received two different rounds of chemotherapy over the past year. Unfortunately both have failed to get rid of his blood cancer.
“It is devastating news for me and my family, and my battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma continues” says Hedley.
“I am now facing the rather daunting prospect of further treatments, one of which is very likely be a blood stem cell transplant from a donor. But here lies the crux of my concern. I am a British-born Mauritian man looking for a donor on a register knowing there is less likely to be a match from my own ethnic background, which is an important factor in finding a match - and this is quite disheartening to say the least.”
People from minority ethnic backgrounds have just a 20% chance of finding a matching blood stem cell donor, compared to 69% for northern European backgrounds. It is essential for more people from diverse backgrounds to register as potential blood stem cell donors.
“My hope in sharing my story is that it at least registers a beep on your radar and you might give some thought of registering with a blood stem cell registry. Anyone aged 17-55 and in general good health who wishes to help can sign up using the ‘become a donor’ link below and a kit will be sent out to swab your cheek, then you simply pop it back in the post.”