In memoriam Nikki Braterman; appeal for bone marrow donors (and for preserving the NHS)
I wrote the original version of this post in September 2014, when the search was on for a bone marrow donor for my daughter-in-law Nikki. In fact, a suitable donor (not ideal, but close enough to look very hopeful) was found, and an apparently successful transfusion performed. Unfortunately, a few days later, before the transplanted stem cells had time to proliferate, she caught an infection and died.
I am renewing my appeal in Nikki’s memory. To register as a potential donor is easy. The more potential donors there are, the greater the chance of a good match being found for any individual, since we are all different, at the molecular level. This is true for all of us, but especially for those from what are, in the West, ethnic minorities, and for those of mixed race. Details of where you can register at the sites listed below. Different countries vary, but in the UK healthy individuals can register up to age 55.
With enormous courage, my son Geoffrey, Nikki’s widower, is speaking about his experience with the NHS in Brighton at the special Labour Party event “Harry Leslie Smith Stands Up For Our NHS” this Sunday April 21 in Brighton. I do not usually use this blog to indulge in party politics, but would remind readers of the way in which the outgoing Westminster Government has, without any mandate, imposed large scale privatisation, restrictions, reorganisation, and confusion on this most fundamental of public services, which, David Cameron had assured us in debate, was “safe” in his hands.
I desperately need your help to find a bone marrow donor for my daughter-in-law, Nikki Braterman who has acute myeloid leukaemia. Being Irish-European/Burmese, she has an extremely rare genetic make-up and we have not been able to find a match.
Please help by doing three things:
1- REGISTER as a potential bone marrow donor
A simple swab or spit test will then determine whether you’re likely to be a match. If you are, then donating bone marrow is a fairly standard procedure these days, almost hassle free for the donor (it’s not a whole lot different to giving blood) and with a good success rate.
Anyone who has European/Southeast Asian heritage – especially with a Portuguese name like De Souza or De Castro – would definitely be of interest. However, all are encouraged to be tested as Nikki’s match may be from someone outside her ethnic grouping or you may save somebody else’s life.
Please register with one of these organisations:
§ UK, aged 16-30: The Anthony Nolan Trust
§ UK, aged 18-49: The British Bone Marrow Registry
§ UK, aged 18-55: Delete Blood Cancer
§ Australia (there’s a large Anglo-Burmese community in Perth): Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry
§ US: Be the Match
§ Canada: One Match
§ Worldwide: Bone Marrow Donors World Wide
2 – FORWARD this email to everyone you know, and especially anyone who has a Southeast Asian or other minority or mixed race heritage
3 – SHARE my Nikki’s story via the social media channels below to help raise awareness
More on Nikki´s story in her own words, a fuller list of registration centres, and more, at Perfect Ten Match