Meriem needs your help. Her cancer has returned and now she needs a stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor. As Meriem is part of a North African ethnic minority, her chances of finding a stem cell donor are only 37% compared to 72% chances of finding a match for patients who are white Caucasian.
Two years ago, Meriem, 30, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), a highly aggressive form of cancer.
Her initial symptoms included widespread bruising on her legs, fatigue and some bleeding from her gums. It took Meriem a few weeks to get diagnosed as there was a delay at the GP practice with arranging her blood tests. She was diagnosed the same day her test results came back.
Kissing her three-month-old baby Yousef goodbye at the hospital, Meriem was admitted to undergo intense chemotherapy for the next few months. Unable to see her baby or any family during this time, due to the risk of infection, she suffered through this time in hospital isolation.
Following months of intense chemotherapy, Meriem received a successful stem-cell transplant from her sister Hana. She was finally in remission and able to hold her baby boy in her arms again. Yousef, her baby, is a toddler now, all smiles and mischief. He's spent the last year catching up on all the hugs and quality time he missed while Meriem was in hospital.
In November 2022, Meriem became unwell again; a bone marrow biopsy confirmed a relapse of her AML. She has restarted chemotherapy.
Yousef had to kiss his mother goodbye again: her cancer had returned. Meriem needs another stem-cell transplant: this time it must come from a non-related match.
“Her haematology team have stated that a bone marrow biopsy will be repeated in four to six weeks. If Meriem is in remission, a further four weeks of chemo will be given. The aim will then be a stem cell transplant. We have been told that this time, the stem cell transplant will need to be from a non-family member," explains Meriem's husband, Omar.
"Your support will help give Meriem the chance to beat cancer and be reunited with little Yousef again.”
To give Meriem the best chance of survival, we urge you - particularly if you're from the North African community - to join the stem cell register. You could be the one to save Meriem's life.