The parents of a teenage girl with a rare form of leukaemia are campaigning to recruit more potential donors to the Anthony Nolan register, after being told that her only chance of a cure is a bone marrow (or stem cell) transplant.
Sophie Bosley, 16, from Midhurst was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML) in October 2011, aged 14. CML is a blood cancer which is extremely rare among children and young adults. Less than 15 new cases of childhood CML are diagnosed in the UK each year. Sophie is being treated at the South East Regional Paediatric Oncology Centre in Southampton, St Mary’s Hospital and has now been referred to consultants at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London.
Sophie’s mother Kirstin Bosley, a 43 year-old early years teacher, said, “When Sophie was diagnosed, we felt absolute devastation. I just wished it was me instead, and that I could take it away from her.”
Despite living in uncertainty while she awaits a transplant, Sophie has continued to embrace life and her aspirations for the future.
Her proud mum explains, “Sophie has always been a highly motivated and positive girl. Despite her diagnosis, she passed all twelve of her GCSEs, while carrying on her hobbies such as Girl Guiding and music. I’m so proud of her. She’s now aspiring to go to Oxford University and one day be a journalist. I think it’s this positive and determined frame of mind which has helped her a lot as she has coped with her illness.”
Kirstin and dad Martin have been told that Sophie will eventually need a bone marrow transplant. Blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan is currently searching its bone marrow register to see if there is a matching donor for Sophie.
Sophie’s family are appealing for people to step forward as donors and are holding a recruitment event later this month where 16-30 year olds can register as potential donors.
Kirstin added, “The doctors talked about the need for a bone marrow transplant from the beginning – it’s the only hope of a cure for her. Sophie’s sister Emily is not a match, so we need to find a matching donor through Anthony Nolan. In the meantime, Sophie is taking each day as it comes, studying for her AS Levels and carrying on with her music as well.”
“Lots of local people ask me what they can do to help, and I feel the most important thing is to raise awareness. People who are eligible can join the donor register and even if you can’t join the register, there’s so much you can do by spreading the word and raising funds.”
Ann O’Leary, Head of Register Development at Anthony Nolan, said, “Many people don’t realise how easy it is to join the bone marrow donor register and how simple the donation process is. We especially need more young men to sign up as they are the most likely to be chosen to donate. By raising awareness or registering as a donor, you can make a potentially lifesaving difference for people like Sophie who are in need of a bone marrow transplant.”
The donor recruitment event is being held on 22nd January 2014 at Chichester College. Members of the public can turn up between 11.30am and 2.30pm to join the register, which just involves filling in a form and providing a saliva sample.