Family campaigns after losing loved one

Jaskomal Sher-Gill with her mother Credit: ITV News Anglia

A family from Bedfordshire are campaigning for more people to donate stem cells in memory of a much loved daughter and sister.

23-year-old Jaskomal Sher-Gill from Clifton, near Shefford, died in January this year. Two years before, she had been diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma, a cancer of the blood.

During her illness, Jaskomal's older brother Joban had donated stem cells after finding out he was a match for his sister. The transplant was succesful, but Jaskomal's immune system was very weak and she died after picking up a chest infection.

Now her family are campaigning to get more people to sign up as stem cell donors.

They have started their own charity, The Jaskomal Foundation, running events and social networking campaigns to raise awareness of the need for donors.

The family say that although Jaskomal did not survive her illness, she was given the best possible chance, and they want other to people to have the same.

They have been working with a major blood cancer charity, the Anthony Nolan Trust, which says that there is a particular shortage of donors from Asian and other ethnic minority backgrounds.

The Trust says that at the moment it only has suitable donors for 50% of people needing stem cell tranplants. Of those white northern Europeans have the best chance of a match, at 90%. For patients from Black, Asian and Ethnic minority backgrounds it drops to 40%.

The charity attributes these statistics to a lack of awareness of the need for donors, and of how to sign-up, within certain communities.

For more information, you can go to the Anthony Nolan Trust or NHS Blood and Transplant websites.