Sue Harris centre set for Royal Free


A woman whose battle against leukaemia touched the Jewish community in the 1990s is to be remembered with a £600,000 centre opening this year at Hampstead's Royal Free Hospital.

Law student Sue Harris died in 1997, aged 34, despite a campaign in which thousands were screened in the hope of finding a bone marrow match to her rare tissue type.

In the quest for a donor, the Sue Harris Campaign ran full-page adverts in the JC listing the names of thousands of people "who believe Sue Harris' life is worth 10mls of their blood".

The Sue Harris Trust is now working to fund the centre in her name at the Royal Free.

It will collect blood from umbilical cords, rich in the same stem cells present in bone marrow, which trust secretary Lionel Salama said was a more efficient way of saving lives.

"There's a plentiful supply, with 700,000 babies born every year, and it can be stored up to 20 years. But there are very few collection centres. My wife and I wanted to donate the cord when our son was born but there was no collection centre in the hospital, which was incredibly frustrating. There are none in Manchester or Leeds, so it's hard to urge people to donate."

He added: "One can only speculate how different the outcome might have been for Sue had cord blood been an option for her. I can think of no more fitting memorial."

The money will fund the centre, operated by the Anthony Nolan Trust, for three years.

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