The family of 5-year-old Camberley resident Hannah Howell are calling on their local community to join the Anthony Nolan stem cell register as potential lifesavers.
Hannah was diagnosed with leukaemia just two weeks ago and doctors have said that a stem cell transplant is her only hope of survival. The family are now waiting to hear whether Hannah’s brother and sister will be a match for her. They are also working with blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan to find Hannah a match from their register of potential donors.
Beccy Howell, Hannah’s mother, says, “Hannah has a rare form of childhood cancer and she needs a bone marrow transplant to save her life. I’m urging everyone in the local area to spare half an hour of their time to join the Anthony Nolan register – one day they may be lucky enough to save the life of someone like my little girl.”
A special recruitment event will be held on 6th December at Farnborough Leisure Centre in Westmead. The event will be hosted by Anthony Nolan, who are urging people to come forward to find out if they could be a match for someone like Hannah. 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.
Lynsey Dickson, regional recruitment manager for Anthony Nolan, says, “There is only a 30% chance that someone with blood cancer will find a match within their family; the rest turn to us to find them an unrelated donor. There are thousands of people like Hannah 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.”
Jeremy Findlay, Beccy’s cousin, who donated in January 2006, adds, “A large number of people have asked why I did it. All I can say is: ‘If it was one of my children who needed a transplant and a family member couldn’t donate, then I would like to think that someone somewhere would do what I did.’ I was pleased to be given the chance to help someone improve their quality of life, and perhaps give them and their family a bit more time together. I found it to be a very humbling experience.”