You could give the gift of life this Christmas

Evie Campbell at her home in Shilbottle. Picture by Jane Coltman

Evie Campbell at her home in Shilbottle. Picture by Jane Coltman

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Young people, aged from 16 to 30, particularly men, are encouraged to sign up to the bone-marrow register at an event this weekend.

The charity Anthony Nolan is holding the event following a request from the family of Evie Campbell, from Shilbottle, who was diagnosed with Diamond-Blackfan anaemia (DBA) at the age of eight weeks.

The condition, caused by a failure in the bone marrow and characterised by an inability to produce red blood cells, affects only around 125 people in the UK. It requires intensive therapy and has no known cure.

The five-year-old has already undergone 21 blood transfusions, but after a failed steroids treatment, she now needs to have a bone-marrow transplant in the next two years.

This weekend’s donor registration event for the charity, whose register is currently being searched for a match for Evie, takes place at the youngster’s school, Swansfield Park in Alnwick, on Saturday, from 11am to 3pm.

Those signing up must be aged between 16 and 30 – although you will stay on the register until the age of 60 – and in good health. The current focus is on young men, because they currently account for more than half of all donations each year, but only make up 13 per cent of the register.

All it requires of a potential donor is to read through the information pack, fill out the medical application form, have it checked by an Anthony Nolan representative and then give a small saliva sample.

Last week, we reported on David Clayton, who joined the register more than a decade ago and donated in 2013. “One day out of your life could give someone else the rest of theirs and there’s no reason young, healthy people shouldn’t join the register if they are able to,” he said.