Islanders are being urged to find out if they could help save the life of a fourteen-month old baby who has connections to the Isle of Wight.
A special recruitment event is being held in Sandown (October 25) to try and find a potential bone marrow donor for Ronnie Manders who has an incredibly rare form of leukaemia, known as JMML.
Ronnie, who lives in Redditch but has family friends on the Isle of Wight, was diagnosed with the disease in July this year and doctors have told his family that a bone marrow transplant is his only hope of survival.
Mum Whitney, 25, said: “Although Ronnie is having chemotherapy, it will not cure him – it will simply buy us a bit more time in which to find the donor that he needs so much. Our struggle to find him that donor anywhere in the world has made us realise that more people need to sign up to the register, not just for our Ronnie but for everyone around the world who needs this gift of life. We also want to make pregnant women aware that there are a few hospitals around the UK where they can donate their umbilical cord blood. This cord blood can be used in bone marrow transplants or for research, and helps people like Ronnie where no matching donor can be found.”
Friends on the Isle of Wight are helping to organise an event at Sandown and Shanklin Rugby Club, Station Approach, Sandown, on October 25, from 3- 7pm, where people can join the Anthony Nolan bone marrow register. Anyone aged 16 to 30 is eligible to join and see if they are a match for someone like Ronnie.
Jenner Mackay-James, regional recruitment manager for Anthony Nolan, says, “There is only a 30% chance that someone with blood cancer will find a match within their family; the rest turn to Anthony Nolan to find them an unrelated donor. There are thousands of people like Ronnie in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant but we can only find matching donors for half of them. If anyone wants to join but can’t come along to the event, they can sign up online at www.anthonynolan.org."