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Urgent appeal for bone marrow donors of Chinese ethnicity
Yvette is of mixed Chinese and Jamaican heritage and is very ill with a rare form of leukaemia.
Yvette is our beloved friend, sister, daughter and cousin. In May 2021 she was suddenly diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, a rare aggressive blood cancer. Since then, she’s been in and out of hospital for chemotherapy and a clinical trial. She turned 41 in October 2021 and managed a weekend out of hospital, making time to catch the latest James Bond with her brother.
Devastatingly, in February 2022 she was told the trial had failed, and without treatment she has months left to live. Now her only chance for survival is to find a match for stem cell donation through the bone marrow register: and quickly.
Yvette is much loved and makes friends wherever she goes. She’s been asked to be maid of honour so many times, she finally had to say she’d never do it again! She’s an explorer, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with her best friend Matt, and taking a cycling trip around the remote Hebrides with her friend Mel.
She trained in architecture and urban regeneration and has worked as a project manager for Haringey, Waltham Forest, the Barbican and the Royal Household, maintaining historic buildings and making the public realm attractive for all Londoners. A career highlight was her incredible dedication in getting the Design Museum opened on time and on budget, in its new Kensington location in 2016.
She’s deeply unmaterialistic: motivated by fun, kindness, beauty, friendship and adventure, not money and status. Yvette has so much left to give, and things she wants to do: seeing her niece and nephew grow up, new travels and projects. Shortly before her diagnosis, she was exploring the idea of retraining in acupuncture.
About bone marrow donation
US website but good outline
Who can join
We are looking for:
- male blood donors who are between 17 and 40 years old
- women who are aged between 17 and 40 and from black, Asian, minority ethnic or mixed (BAME) backgrounds
Yvette’s type of blood cancer means that she needs to find a match to receive healthy new stem cells from the donor’s bone marrow. Yvette is of mixed Chinese and Jamaican heritage.
Donors are identified through genetic matching. Patients who need a donor are most likely to find a match from within their family, or where there is no family match (as in Yvette’s case), from someone with the same ethnicity.
According to the Anthony Nolan charity, there’s an urgent need for more people from ethnic minorities to sign up as stem cell donors: ‘Patients who are White Caucasian have a 71% chance of finding the best match from an unrelated donor. This drops to a 37% chance for patients from minority ethnic backgrounds.’
According to DKMS, the world’s leading blood stem cell donor centre, in the UK, ‘The percentage of all donors from minority ethnic backgrounds has remained steady at 13% in 2019/20, highlighting the importance of raising awareness of their lifesaving potential amongst this group. Patients from black, Asian or other minority backgrounds have a 20% chance of finding the best possible blood stem cell match from an unrelated donor, compared to 69% for northern European backgrounds.’
The more people of Chinese descent we can get to register as bone marrow donors today, the better chance we have of finding a match for Yvette in time.