A Wirral woman who faces a race against time to find a matching bone marrow donor is appealing to the chinese community to help provide the lifesaving transplant she needs to beat leukaemia.
Jenny Wilkinson, 44, of Wallasey, was diagnosed with leukaemia in May 2009. After three unsuccessful courses of chemotherapy, she is now taking part in trials of a new drug, which it is hoped will put her in remission. However she was forced to abandon the trial after it left her desperately ill.
After recovering, she now is taking the drug again, and if, as is hoped, the drug succeeds in putting her in remission, she will then need a bone marrow transplant.
However Jenny says the chances of her finding a donor are complicated by the fact that she is of chinese origin – and has not been able to find a match yet.
Jenny’s parents – her mother died just a week ago – are both Chinese, and Jenny has been told that her best chance of a donor lies with someone of Chinese origin.
However, national donor registers are chronically short of potential donors from ethnic groups, and urgently need to recruit more volunteer donors from all ethnic backgrounds, including chinese.
Said Jenny: ‘I was shocked to find out that, due to my background, the odds of finding a suitable donor are much worse than if I was a Caucasian patient. Most matches are found from within the same ethnic community as the patient.
‘This is the chance for someone to make a profound difference to someone’s life. I’m trying hard to stay positive but I need to find a match as soon as possible,’ she added.
There is only a short window of time that Jenny could receive a bone marrow transplant, and patients only have a chance at one transplant too, so the best match possible is vital.
Now Jenny is appealing to everyone – particularly the chinese and ethnic minority communty – to join the national bone marrow register.
Jenny feels that some people may be put off my outdated perceptions of what a bone marrow transplant entails. Thanks to advances in medicine, donating bone marrow is now much easier, and, for most people pain, free.
Jenny is calling on people to register for bone marrow donation by calling the Anthony Nolan Trust on 0303 303 0303, visiting www. anthonynolan.org.uk or going to the Wirral Leukaemia Awareness Day event in the aerobics studio at West Kirby Concourse on Saturday February 6 from 9.30am-4pm where they will be able to take a simple test to see whether they are suitable. Anyone aged between 18 and 50 and in general good health would make a potential donor.