Schools lead the way in bone marrow donor search

By Anna Sheinman, January 31, 2013

Jewish schools are leading the way in the urgent search for a bone marrow donor for a Harrow woman in a campaign which has seen a massive upsurge in Jews registering with the Anthony Nolan Trust.

Sharon Berger, 61, is undergoing chemotherapy in hospital for myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a malfunction of the bone marrow. Her treatment ends in four weeks, at which point she will need a bone marrow donation.

Her son Jonni — who has been running the donor campaign with his sister Caroline — reported huge support from the Jewish community, particularly schools.

Over 100 students signed up when the Nolan Trust ran a registration drive at Bushey’s Immanuel College.

JCoSS in Barnet and King Solomon in Redbridge will also be holding drives and discussions are in progress with JFS and Yavneh College.

Sam Lipton, a year-12 Immanuel pupil who took part in the drive, said: “It’s not every day that you have the chance to make such a big difference to the life of another human being.”

Mr Berger said that, although a match had not yet been found for his mother, “my mum has been incredibly cheered by people she has never met and surely that’s a helpful medicine.”

The Nolan Trust welcomed “a 985 per cent increase in Jewish people joining the bone marrow register as potential donors as a result of Sharon Berger’s appeal.” In January, 434 Jews registered. The figure for January 2012 was 40. The campaign has gone global with groups joining the international register in Israel and the US. A YouTube beatbox video by Jewish rapper Beardyman encouraging people to sign up has been viewed more than 8,000 times in four days.

Those aged 16-30 can register for bone marrow donation at People aged 30-49 can sign up when giving blood.

Last updated: 10:48am, February 6 2013