Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

May Brown: young mother and donor campaigner dies of Leukaemia aged 23

May Brown with her husband and young daughter at their home in Dorset. Credit: ITV News

A young mother with Leukaemia who successfully challenged the Home Office over a refused visa for her donor has died at the age of 23.

May Brown from Dorset campaigned tirelessly to allow her Nigerian sister to enter the UK in order to provide a life-saving bone marrow transplant.

Along the way, May's fight inspired many thousands of people to sign up to the stem cell register in the UK and Nigeria.

May Brown with her 3 year old daughter, Selina. Credit: ACLT

"Save May Brown": The end of a two-year fight

May Brown was just 21 years old when she was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid leukaemia.

Her sister Martha Williams was found to be a 10/10 match to be a bone marrow donor, however the Home Office initially denied her entry to the UK so she could donate stem cells.

May, her husband and three-year-old daughter worked alongside the blood cancer charity ACLT to overturn that decision and bring Martha into the UK.

Over 60,000 people got behind the campaign, signing the #SaveMayBrown petition.

The petition was successful - and Martha was granted the right to enter the UK. Credit: Change.org

Martha arrived in the UK in October 2016. This was the moment the two sisters met each other in the arrivals' lounge:

May’s transplant was initially delayed as she became unwell with a virus and required further chemotherapy treatment before the transplant could take place.

In January this year the transplant went ahead and Martha returned to Nigeria in April 2017.

Just one week later, May was declared to be free of the illness.

After a brave fight against cancer, May Brown passed away on Friday. Credit: ACLT

However, May had a recurrence of the disease, and was told that there was nothing more doctors could do.

She passed away with her husband and loved ones by her side on Friday.

'Forever in our hearts': tributes to May Brown

May’s husband Mike Brown has said:

May was a strong, beautiful, supportive, wonderful wife and mother; Selina and I will truly miss her.

– Mike Brown, May's husband

"May was incredibly grateful to the support given to her from ACLT, and I echo those words on behalf of me and our daughter Selina."

Mike and May Brown. Credit: ACLT

The co-founder of the ACLT charity, Beverley De-Gale, also paid tribute to May's courageous fight against the disease.

In the 18 months, I’ve known her, I can say May was a remarkable woman who fought hard to beat this terrible illness.

Every member of the ACLT team is extremely saddened by her passing.

– Beverley De-Gale, ACLT