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Young mum with leukaemia's sister has visa granted to travel to UK for life-saving stem cell transplant

May Brown needs a stem cell donation to save her life. Credit: ACLT

A young mother in need of a life-saving stem cell transplant has spoken of her joy after a visa to bring her donor-match sister to the UK was granted.

May Brown, who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia last year, appealed to immigration officials to allow her sister, Martha, entry to the UK from Nigeria after the Home Office originally refused her application.

Campaigners said the application was originally rejected over fears the 23-year-old's sister would not have enough money to fund her stay in the UK and would not return to Nigeria when her visa expired.

However, Ms Brown has pledged to fund the visit, and said her schoolteacher sister, who has two children in their native Nigeria, has "no desire" to relocate to the UK.

May Brown, her husband and their two-year-old daughter. Credit: ACLT

Even though doctors at King's College Hospital, London, carried out "an extensive search" for a donor, Ms Brown's sister was confirmed as the only suitable, and perfect, match.

The Home Office's refusal was overturned by Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill after leading blood cancer charity, the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT), launched an appeal last week.

Within days a Change.org petition had gained 61,100 signatures and was delivered to the Home Office.

"I have carefully considered the case of May Brown and decided that her sister will be granted leave to enter the UK given the compassionate and exceptional circumstances," Mr Goodwill said in a statement.

May Brown with her husband Mike. Credit: PA

Ms Brown who lives in Dorset with her two-year-old daughter Selina-May and her husband Mike, said: "I am overjoyed by the U-turn the Home Office has taken regarding my sister Martha's visa application.

"I would like to thank the British public and beyond, and my MP Richard Drax, for their overwhelming support.

"I would also like to thank ACLT. I will forever be grateful for the love and support they have shown my family and me."

May Brown with her daughter Selina-May. Credit: PA

ACLT co-founder Beverley De-Gale said: “May is thrilled of the change and can’t stop smiling, and nor can we!

"Our team have worked tirelessly to raise awareness of May’s story.

“This result just reconfirms what amazing things can be achieved with focus, passion and a determination to succeed.”

“May still has a long way to go, but for now we will join her to celebrate this amazing news.”

Ms Brown is currently receiving her second round of intensive chemotherapy at King's College Hospital.