New campaign for bone marrow donors

LIFESAVING bone marrow donors are needed in Suffolk today to help fight leukaemia.Every year 7,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with the disease or similar illnesses and for many a transplant represents their only chance at life.

LIFESAVING bone marrow donors are needed in Suffolk today to help fight leukaemia.

Every year 7,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with the disease or similar illnesses and for many a transplant represents their only chance at life.

So Tijen and Wayne Burnett, of Hawthorn Drive, Ipswich, have set up a donor drive for the Anthony Nolan Trust to persuade people in Suffolk to consider signing up to donate their bone marrow and stem cells.

Mrs Burnett said: “We helped organise a registration session back in 1996 at the Ipswich Caribbean Club.

“It was a real success and lots of people came forward and registered as potential donors.

“We believe if everyone did a little to make a difference this world would truly be a better place.”

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Mrs Burnett added she was particularly keen to encourage people from ethnic minorities to consider donation.

Currently less than 40,000 people out of the 387,000 people on the Anthony Nolan register are from black and ethnic minority communities, making it difficult to locate donors from some patients.

Mrs Burnett added: “We became parents in 1994 and we were very lucky that our son was born healthy.

“Wayne is of mixed parentage and I am Turkish and we thought that if anything happened to our son it would be awful if we couldn't help him because he is of mixed race.”

The registration session will take place on Wednesday, January 30, at the Ipswich Caribbean Club in Woodbridge Road, Ipswich, from 5pm to 8pm.

Everyone aged between 18 and 40 years old, in good health and who weighs at least eight stone is asked to consider attending.

Has your life been saved by a bone marrow donation? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

Ian Urwin

AFTER watching an advert about the Anthony Nolan Trust Ian Urwin decided to put his name down as a potential donor.

The 40-year-old dad-of-one from Kelly Road in Ipswich's Triangle Estate, said: “I thought it would be a good idea to try and help someone else.

“Initially I came up as a possible match but then further tests proved that I was not perfect for that patient, however a couple of weeks later I was contacted to say that I was a match for another patient.

“I had to have several blood tests, once these were confirmed as being a match I had to go to London and have a medical. This involved more tests and a questionnaire.

“I was then given two different options; either to have blood taken from me from which they then extract the bone marrow, or have an operation where they harvest the bone marrow from me. I opted to go in for the operation.

“Two incisions are then made in the hip area and the bone marrow is harvested using a type of syringe. You can leave the following day.

“The experience I was told would be painful, however I did not feel that bad, just a little stiff and sore.

“We are not allowed to contact the person we are donating to; but they have the option to know about the donor.”

Mr Urwin, an Army officer based at Colchester's Military Corrective Training Centre, added: “I would definitely do it again, however after donating you have to wait a year before you can donate again.

“It is also definitely something that I would recommend to other people. It gives you the satisfaction that you have helped someone else to have a better life.”

Anthony Nolan Trust

The Anthony Nolan Trust is a charity which focuses on leukaemia and bone marrow transplantation.

It runs a bone marrow register in the UK and carries out research to help make bone marrow transplants more effective.

The charity is named after Anthony Nolan who died in 1979, aged eight, after suffering from a blood disorder which could only be treated by a bone marrow transplant.

It was founded by Anthony's mother, Shirley in 1974.

Bone marrow transplantation is the transplantation of blood stem cells derived from the bone marrow or blood.

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