Page last updated at 10:55 GMT, Friday, 29 January 2010

Wirral woman's appeal for Chinese donor

Jenny Wilkinson
Mrs Wilkinson is finding it difficult to find a suitable match

A Wirral woman is appealing to the Chinese community to help save her life - by finding a bone marrow donor.

Jenny Wilkinson, 44, whose family is from China, has leukaemia and is finding it difficult to find a suitable match.

The National Blood Service (NBS) said there is a problem with a shortage of donors from ethnic minority groups.

Mrs Wilkinson said: "I'm trying to stay positive but I need to find a match as soon as possible."

She was diagnosed with the disease in May 2009 and has publicised her plight in a bid to find a match.

After three unsuccessful courses of chemotherapy, Mrs Wilkinson took part in trials of a new drug, which it is hoped will put her in remission.

However, she was forced to abandon the trial after it left her desperately ill.

Despite this, she has recovered and is back taking the drug. If it succeeds in putting her in remission then she will be ready for a transplant.

This is the chance for someone to make a profound difference to someone's life
Jenny Wilkinson

However, there is only a short window of time when she could receive a bone marrow and only one chance, so the best match possible is vital.

"I was shocked to find out that, due to my background, the odds of finding a suitable donor are much worse than if I was a Caucasian patient.

"Most matches are found from within the same ethnic community as the patient.

"This is the chance for someone to make a profound difference to someone's life," she added.

Recruit more donors

A spokesperson for the NHS Blood and Transplant said: "At the moment there is a lack of ethnic donors signed up to the bone marrow register.

"We need to continue to recruit more donors, particularly from ethnic communities.

"This is vital as finding a suitable match is often difficult due to the lack of appropriate volunteers on the Registry."

Those willing to help should register for bone marrow donation by calling the Anthony Nolan Trust or go to the Wirral Leukaemia Awareness Day event on 6 February at West Kirkby Concourse.

Every years the NBS receives 7,000 donors, but only a few hundred are from ethnic minority groups.

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