Transplant patient urges screen tests

By Robyn Rosen, July 15, 2010

A bone marrow screening session has been arranged at Gatley's Yeshurun Synagogue on Sunday in response to an appeal from an academic with leukaemia.

Professor Steve Rothberg, a 44-year-old father of two from Loughborough, was diagnosed with leukaemia in March 2009. After four failed courses of chemotherapy and four donor drives, a donor has been found for him in Germany and he will undergo a bone marrow transplant in August.

More than 300 people have joined the Spit for Steve campaign on Facebook, which is seeking 500 Jewish donors to join the UK bone marrow register. Those who attend Sunday's session, organised by the Antony Nolan Trust, will have to provide a saliva sample.

A donor is more likely to match a patient from the same ethnic background but Jews make up only two per cent of the register, which has 400,000 people signed up.

Professor Rothberg's wife, Gillian Adams, said: "If you're Jewish, the chances are you are less likely to find a donor because there aren't as many people from that ethnic group on the register.

"There is a real misconception that donating is horrible and intrusive but it's not. In most cases it's just like donating blood."

Last updated: 12:15pm, July 15 2010