TV presenter Gok Wan has pledged his support for Leicestershire schoolgirl Bethany Mickleburgh, who was first diagnosed with leukaemia in 2000. Doctors have said that a stem cell transplant is her only hope of survival. The family are now working urgently with blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan to find her a match from their register of potential donors.
Bethany says, “I was first diagnosed with leukaemia when I was three years old. It was successfully treated with chemotherapy and I was leading a happy life as a young teenager until a week ago when my consultant rang my parents and told them I had relapsed. It’s been five years since we last searched the Anthony Nolan register for a match for me, and we didn’t find one. I’m hopeful we will find a potential match but in the meantime I want people to join the Anthony Nolan register so that lives like mine can be saved.”
A special recruitment event will be held on Saturday 12th November at Leicester Tigers Stadium by Anthony Nolan, who are urging people to come forwards to find out if they could be a match for someone like Bethany. The charity particularly needs young men aged 18-30 to come forward, as they make the best donors but account for just 12% of the register.
Gok Wan says, “I was born in Leicester, and I know how strong the community spirit is up here, so I’m calling on all Leicester residents to come forward and join the Anthony Nolan stem cell register, to see if they’re a match for someone like Bethany. For someone with a blood cancer like leukaemia, a blood stem cell transplant is their last hope of life. By joining the register, you could give them that hope.”
Jenner Large, regional recruitment manager for Anthony Nolan, adds, “There are thousands of people like Bethany in desperate need of a transplant but we can only find matching donors for half of them. We particularly need men aged 18-30 to come forward as they are more likely to be asked to donate, which could help us to save more lives. If anyone wants to join but can’t come along to the event, they can sign up online at www.anthonynolan.org.”