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29th Jun, 2022

Parents of children with leukaemia organise blood stem cell drive in Tiddington

Catherine Thompson 24th Jan, 2020 Updated: 24th Jan, 2020

A DONOR drive is being held by a Stratford-based insurer to give those affected by blood cancer a better chance of life.

NFU Mutual in Tiddington has teamed up with DKMS, an organisation which promotes blood stem cell donation, to host the drive and encourage staff to sign up.

The event has been organised by NFU Mutual employees Naomi Clayson and Sarah Layton whose children both suffered from leukaemia.

Naomi said: “At just three years old, my daughter Esme was diagnosed with leukaemia and the only cure for her was a stem cell transplant, which she had in 2011 and 2012. We were one of the lucky few to find a match, and after what was quite a difficult journey.

“We eventually met Esme’s donor Andreas from Berlin in October 2015 – the relationship that Esme and Andreas have really is heart-warming. If it wasn’t for Andreas being on the DKMS bone marrow register, we know that Esme wouldn’t be here now.”

Sarah’s oldest son Josh was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2016 when he was three.

She added: “Josh is doing well and is due to complete his treatment in April 2020. The treatment for his type of leukaemia is chemotherapy, but if a relapse occurs then a stem cell transplant is usually the next course of action. I hope we are never in that situation, but it terrifies me to think that if Josh ever did need a transplant there may not be a match for him.”

Only two per cent of the UK population is on the blood stem cell registry and DKMS is urging more people to come forward as donors in order to find a match for every person with blood cancer – the third most common cause of cancer death in the UK.

There are around 2,000 people in the country in need of a blood stem cell transplant.

CEO Jonathan Pearce said: “Working with corporate supporters like NFU Mutual enables us to increase donor numbers but also raise awareness about the importance of donating blood stem cells. You could potentially be saving a life. I would urge anyone between 17 and 55 and in general good health to request a swab kit.”

Visit dkms.org.uk to find out more information.

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