August 3, 2016: Yesterday Liam joined other celebrities, including Sharon Osborne and the mayor of London Sadiq Khan, in posting tweets to their followers asking them to register for stem cells donation. The request is made with a sense of urgency for Sharon Berger, 65, of London who is affected of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML).
Sharon was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia in 2012 and received a stem cells transplant soon after her diagnosis. She had been in remission since May 2013. Unfortunately, a recent check up revealed that the cancer has returned. The doctors told Sharon’s family that they only have about 6 weeks to identify a new stem cells donor for another transplant.
Sharon’s Jewish heritage makes it more difficult to find a match. The best donor match for her would be an Ashkenazi Jew. Improving the odds of finding a match for people in ethnic minority groups like Sharon requires more donors from diverse backgrounds to be registered. The #Spit4Mum donor registration was launched back in 2013 when Sharon was first diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. The name #Spit4Mum derives from the process used to determine a potential match: analyzing a swab of the donor’s cheek. In 2013 when the #Spit4Mum drive asked people to register, the results showed an increase in over 1,100 times of the number that existed on their register at the blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan. Bone marrow donor banks are always in need of diversity among their donor pool, especially those of ethnic minority backgrounds.
Ann O’Leary, Head of Register and Development at Anthony Nolan, said: ‘The amount of support that’s been shown for #Spit4Mum so far has been extremely heartening. Everyone who has read and shared the campaign has made a big difference. But there’s still more that can be done.’
If you live in the UK, are between the age of 16 and 30, in good health and weigh at least 50 kilos please consider registering as a donor at the Antony Nolan registry to save a life.