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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 November, 2004, 05:40 GMT
Zain's quest for a donor
Zain Hashmi
Zain: blood transfusions every three weeks
Zain Hashmi suffers from a rare blood disorder and, around 18 months ago, his parents won a landmark legal case in their search for a donor for him.

Zain's parents wanted to create a sibling using IVF, who would be a perfect tissue match.

Unfortunately three screened embryo implants by IVF have failed.

And Zain is undergoing blood transfusions every three weeks, just to keep him alive.

Now Shahana and Raj Hashmi are launching a desperate appeal for more people from ethnic minorities to become tissue donors, to help their son and others like him

Zain suffers from a condition called Beta Thalassemia Major but following his family's failure to find a tissue donor, his parents are turning their attention to the bone marrow register.

Today, they will launch a worldwide appeal for more donors from black and Asian communities, and they will be joined by medical experts.

What is Beta Thalassaemia?
It is a serious anaemia affecting people who have inherited the two unusual Beta Thalassaemia genes, one from each parent.
People with Beta Thalassaemia Major do not produce enough healthy, mature red blood cells and become pale and anaemic
Mature red blood cells are essential to carry oxygen around the body
The condition is very common with people from Mediterranean families

Shahana says they've encountered some heartbreaking stories in the search for a donor for Zain, but now they also want to help others who need bone marrow transplants.

Although the blood transfusions keep Zain's condition stable, they also cause a build up of iron which threatens his major organs.

Only a tissue transplant from a perfect donor match, or tissue from a genetically matched sibling can help him.

Beta Thalassaemia Major is passed on to a child by a defective gene from one of the parents, it is particularly common in Mediterranean families.

  • If you're interested in becoming a donor

    You should get in touch with Zain's Appeal, The Anthony Nolan Trust or the National Blood Transfusion Service's donor register (links for both are on the right hand side of this story).

    To be a donor for the Anthony Nolan Trust, you must be a normal weight, in general good health and willing to donate stem cells to any patients which you match.

    The Anthony Nolan Trust has a 24 hour Donor Hotline: 0901 88 22 234

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    Treatment soon for Zain's family
    16 Apr 03 |  Breakfast


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