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  1. ITV Report

Mum-of-two in race against time to find matching stem cell donor

Credit: DKMS

A mum of two, who was recently diagnosed with Leukaemia, has moved 80 miles to try and find a matching stem cell donor - leaving behind her husband and two young children.

Meena Kumari-Sharma was told that she urgently needed a blood stem cell donation for her best chance of survival.

Due to her British-Indian background, the search for a matching donor has been a difficult one.

Meena left her home in St Albans to re-locate to Leicester, because of the city's multicultural population.

She says she is more likely to find a suitable donor there - and she only has a matter of months left.

But the move meant leaving her two five-year-olds behind with their dad.

Credit: DKMS
  • · Donors from minority ethnic backgrounds make up just 13.1% of the UK stem cell register.
  • · Patients from black, Asian or other minority backgrounds have a 20% chance of finding the best possible stem cell donor match - compared to 69% for northern European backgrounds.

My world was turned upside down when I was diagnosed with leukaemia. I just kept thinking that they had made a huge mistake.

After the initial diagnosis I faced the agonising decision of where to receive my treatment.

After realising I would soon be spending the best part of a year in hospital and realistically I wouldn’t be able to look after my children. I made the heartbreaking decision to move back to Leicester.

We’ve been working tirelessly to encourage more people to register as blood stem cell donors. I would urge to people to take that first step in becoming a potential lifesaver.

– Meena Kumari-Sharma
Credit: DKMS

DKMS, a blood cancer charity, is holding a registration event today (Wednesday 16 January) to help find a matching donor for Meena or someone else in need of a blood stem cell transplant.

The event will take place at the Leicester Royal Infirmary Hospital in L’Eat restaurant, from 8am – 3pm.

The charity is encouraging hospital staff and visitors aged between 17-55 who in general good health to attend and register as a potential lifesaver.

Please spare the time to attend the event and help find a matching donor for Meena or someone else in need of a blood stem cell transplant.

By doing this selfless act and registering as a potential lifesaver you’ll go on standby to save the life of someone just like you.

If you can’t make the donor drive and are aged between 17-55, you can register online for a home swab kit at dkms.org.uk .

– Lisa Nugent, Head of Donor Recruitment at DKMS UK