Plea to help save Naomi
A LOVING mother has issued a heartfelt plea for more people to register as bone marrow donors and help save her teenage daughter's life.Naomi Shaw, 15, has battled against neutropeniasince birth, a rare debilitating bone marrow illness which weakens her immune system and makes her more prone to infections.
A LOVING mother has issued a heartfelt plea for more people to register as bone marrow donors and help save her teenage daughter's life.
Naomi Shaw, 15, has battled against neutropeniasince birth, a rare debilitating bone marrow illness which weakens her immune system and makes her more prone to infections.
She was dealt another blow in May when she was diagnosed with a form of acute myeloid leukaemia and now desperately needs a bone marrow transplant.
But, because she is of mixed-parentage, the chances of the youngster finding a good match for the operation are drastically reduced and time is running out.
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At present, just 14,000 of the 545,000 people on the UK Bone Marrow register are of African, African Caribbean or mixed-parentage descent.
In a desperate bid to increase the odds, the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT) has organised a registration clinic in the Ipswich Corn Exchange on June 24.
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Speaking to the EADT from her Ipswich home last night, mum Sarah urged people to come forward and register as potential lifesavers.
She said: "Because of Naomi's previous condition the doctors know that chemotherapy won't work.
"That's why we are urgently looking for a bone marrow donor for a transplant within the next two or three months.
"I would like to ask anybody from any background to register as a bone marrow donor as anyone can be a potential match.
"Even if they can't help us they could help some other family who are going through the same thing.
"I would just say to people please register because it gives us a better chance."
Naomi, a student at Northgate High School, is bravely battling against the condition but had to spend five days in hospital just last week because of an infection.
"Something that wouldn't make you or I ill could be life-threatening for Naomi and she's had to cope with that her whole life," Dr Shaw added.
"The diagnosis of Leukaemia was a real shock – there's terrible things and there's good things we've been through but obviously this is a big worry.
"I would like to thank everyone who has offered us help so far."
Naomi, who wants to become a child psychologist, said: "I need a transplant as soon as possible because if it gets too bad the doctors have to give me a course of chemotherapy and that doesn't work very well for people with Neutropenia.
"There is a higher success rate for transplants if you don't have the chemotherapy first – but the longer they leave it, the more it becomes a life or death situation.
"The worst thing is that you don't know when the operation is going to happen so you can't plan things.
"At the moment, if someone asks me if I want to do something in two months then I have to say maybe – that's really annoying."
Naomi will have her vital operation at the University College Hospital in London over the next few months, but its success all depends on the quality of the bone marrow match.
While a white person could be a good match it is more likely that the best matches will come from those with a similar background to Naomi.
Dr Shaw said: "To register as a potential bone marrow donor you just have to fill in a form and have a simple blood test.
"You would only be called if you are a good match and you could save somebody's life."
Naomi added: "If I get the transplant, fingers crossed I would just have a normal healthy life with no medication if I go away from home and things like that. That would be great – because I'm really forgetful."
The ACLT bone marrow/stem cell registration clinic will be held in the Robert Cross Hall at Ipswich Corn Exchange on June 24 between 11am and 7pm.
People of all backgrounds – but especially those of African, Afro-Caribbean or mixed parentage descent – between the ages of 18-45 are urged to go along.
It does not matter if you smoke, drink or have sickle cell trait – you could still help save a life.
For more information about the registration clinic or the ACLT, call 0208 6671122.