Another mixed ancestry woman needs bone marrow donor

Nikki-and-Geoff-Braterman-and-their-two-children (1)

Nikki and Geoff Braterman, and their children Phoebe and Oscar, shortly before Nikki became ill

You may remember my daughter-in-law, Nikki, who died last year as the result of an extremely virulent form of leukaemia. One contributing factor may have been (we cannot possibly tell) the unusual difficulty in getting a good bone marrow donor match, since Nikki was of mixed European-Asian parentage, and a good match depends on characteristics inherited from each parent.

Geoffrey, Nikki’s widower, is drawing attention to another such case:

Any healthy person under 55 (details vary from country to country) should consider registering as a a bone marrow donor. More available donors will mean better matches in all categories, but there is a particular need for non-European donors, and especially donors of mixed ancestry. You can 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

Or just google “Bone marrow donation [name of country]”

Registering is easy. Donation, should you be called on, a minor inconvenience for you, and a matter of life and death for some total stranger, whose name you will never know.

Please pass this on

About Paul Braterman

Science writer, former chemistry professor; committee member British Centre for Science Education; board member and science adviser Scottish Secular Society; former member editorial board, Origins of Life, and associate, NASA Astrobiology Insitute; first popsci book, From Stars to Stalagmites 2012

Posted on January 22, 2016, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I’m not of mixed ancestry, but I signed up 20 years ago when a friend of mine was looking for a match. Unfortunately, he did not find one, but I assume I’m still registered, which leads me to wonder how they would find me if I was a match for someone, since we’ve moved twice since then.


  2. I went to the “Be the Match” web site in the US, and they are looking primarily for potential donors between the ages of 18 and 44. I guess that leaves me out.


  3. I’m 73 and I still donate blood fairly regularly and haven’t had any problems yet.


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