In which The Author could be tempted to believe in miracles
If you’ve read this blog, chanced upon my Facebook, or encountered my Twitter feed at any point during the past week and a half, then you’ll already be aware of the Shake4Mike
Mike Brandon, a young man from Bristol, is suffering from leukaemia. In conjunction with the fantastic UK charity the Anthony Nolan Trust
, Mike’s family, his fianceé Kate’s family, and his many friends across the country were trying to find a stem cell donor.
Kate’s aunt lives near my mother, so I was drafted in to help spread the word. I went into more detail in The Shake4Mike Appeal Needs Your Help!
last week, to try and get the ball rolling. It’s a one in a thousand chance that someone will have compatible tissue, so we were facing an uphill struggle. I’ve spent much of the last ten days badgering people to take a shaky selfie and share it via social media, to try and encourage more volunteers to submit a saliva sample and join the stem cell donor register.
I’ve just had a phone call from Kate’s aunt with some incredible news: a donor has been found.
As regular readers know, I keep an open mind on the existence of a Generator of Organic Diversity – but in recent years I’ve had a number of experiences which have caused me to wonder about the deep structure of the Universe. In my opinion, this weekend’s news is little short of miraculous.
Mike isn’t out of the woods by a long way, mind you. He’s got to endure more chemotherapy before the doctors can begin his treatment in earnest, and then another bout of chemotherapy afterwards.
But this weekend’s news proves that the stem cell register has the potential make the difference between life and death. We all take giving blood for granted, and I daresay many of us carry organ donor cards. In scientific terms, they’re old school. Stem cell therapy could become the equivalent of these techniques for the Third Millennium.
I’d strongly urge you to try and keep the momentum going now. If you’re aged between sixteen and thirty, resident in the UK, and can sail through the online health questionnaire, then please register for a testing kit via the Anthony Nolan Trust website. All that’s required is a saliva sample. It couldn’t be any quicker, easier or pain-free than that!
In the meantime, the Shake4Mike campaign will continue, in order to raise awareness of the stem cell register. If you haven’t already taken a Shaky Selfie and shared it online, why not do it after you’ve read this? Like registering, it takes just a couple of minutes and could help to find the next donor for someone like Mike.
Finally, if you can spare some cash to fund the trust’s incredible work, you can donate at their website. Why not organise your own event to spread the word and help to pay for their continued work? Please don’t let this head of steam fizzle out now.
On behalf of Mike’s family and Kate’s family, thanks for reading this!