Shirley Kordie is a 33-year-old mother from Walsall who has been living with hypoplastic MDS – a very rare form of blood cancer for the last seven years. Shirley needs a stem cell transplant from her brother Joseph, a nurse who lives in Ghana – but the Home Office has refused him a visa because he doesn’t earn enough money.
Shirley’s doctors at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham have told her she urgently needs a stem cell transplant to survive. Four-year-old Blessing wants his mum to come home. At the moment she is entirely reliant on blood transfusions to reduce her life-threatening anaemia and her reduced white blood cells put her at high risk of infection.
Blood cancer charities Anthony Nolan and the ACLT (African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust) are working together to support Shirley’s case and help get this decision overturned.
All Shirley desperately wants is to be well again so she can return home, care for her young son, Blessing, and get back to work. She says: “My life is in danger - I need to get my life back for my son. I have my little boy, and I want to live for him.”
There are no other options for a donor on the international stem cell registers, and no way for Joseph to donate in Ghana. Shirley’s best chance of survival is for her brother to be allowed to come to the UK and donate.
Henny Braund, Chief Executive of Anthony Nolan says: “Shirley’s best chance of recovery so she can care for her young son, Blessing, is a stem cell transplant and I am deeply concerned her brother Joseph, who is a perfect match, has been denied a visa. The Home Office has made concessions for similar cases in the past and I urge the Minister to reconsider.
“Each passing day leaves Shirley increasingly anxious, and at increased risk of infection. His sister is in need and Joseph is ready – this situation needs to be urgently resolved so Shirley can have the treatment she so desperately needs.”
Orin Lewis, Chief Executive of the ACLT says: “Shirley has a match and to be told that her brother, Joseph, cannot donate his stem cells is hugely worrying.
“The stark reality is Shirley has no other option. The search for an unrelated donor is made difficult due to her African heritage, which means she is three times less likely to find a perfect match. The Minister needs to step in and give Shirley her best chance of life, and raising her young son.”
Support the Anthony Nolan and the ACLT campaign to help get the Home Office decision overturned on Change.org at Change.org/SaveShirley.