UK News: Capital XTRA support #Match4Tommy Campaign


This week, the team behind the #Match4Tommy campaign announced they will hold a donor drive at LONDON based radio station Capital XTRA, in an appeal to help save the life of 4-year-old Tommy Simpson.

Tommy’s story first hit national news last month when the #Match4Tommy campaign was launched by ACLT and backed by the London Fire Brigade (LFB). Since the launch of the appeal, over 4,500 people have joined the UK stem cell register, via the Delete Blood Cancer registry in an attempt to be an unrelated stem cell match for Tommy.

It was in January 2016 Tommy was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML), after being admitted to hospital a few days before Christmas. He has been in hospital ever since.

Following his diagnosis, ACLT alongside Tommy’s parents; London Firefighter Nigel Simpson, 48 and Education Associate at Mary Kay Cosmetics (UK), Maxine Francis, 45, launched the urgent appeal to find Tommy a potentially lifesaving stem cell donor in the event his test results revealed he would require an unrelated stem cell (bone marrow) donor to save his life. Like many parents who have a child battling blood cancer, Nigel and Maxine want to ensure a match is found now to safeguard Tommy’s future, as there are no suitable matches for Tommy at present.

Celebrities who have shown their support across social media for #Match4Tommy include Britain’s Got Talent judge and ACLT Celebrity Ambassador, Alesha Dixon, Actress Thandie Newton, Singer’s Beverley Knight and Mica Paris; Actors Richard Blackwood(EastEnders), Danny John-Jules (Death in Paradise/Red Dwarf), Adrian Lester OBE(Hustle) and Entrepreneur Bianca Miller (Apprentice).

Tommy’s mixed heritage makes it extremely hard to find a donor as matching stem cell tissue types are inherited.  Mixed race people like Tommy have less than a 20% chance of finding an unrelated best possible match; as do individuals who are black or from a minority ethnic background.  There are only 3% of donors on the UK stem cell register who are mixed race, making Tommy’s chances of finding an unrelated donor extremely difficult.

Tommy, who is an only child, is currently being treated at London’s Great Ormond Street hospital. Extended family members were immediately tested, however a suitable match within the family was not found.

Tommy’s parents Nigel and Maxine say:

“Tommy doesn’t have any siblings so the 1 in 4 chance of a sibling being a match doesn’t exist for Tommy. It is at best a 50% chance for parents to be a match for their children; this is normally a route doctors go down when they can’t find anything better. We know the window of opportunity for an unrelated match being found is going fast with each day passing; that’s why we are appealing for people to join the stem cell register now.  Particularly if you are White Northern European, Black African or Caribbean and mixed race (white/black), you may potentially be able to save the life of our funny and beautiful little boy”.

The #Match4Tommy donor registration drive will take place on Saturday 19th March, between 11 – 6pm at Global, 30 Leicester Square, London, WC2H 7LA. ACLT will be registering anyone in good health aged 16-55. Registrants will be asked to complete a short application form and provide a cheek swab. 

For more information on the ACLT donor registration drive at Capital XTRA on Saturday 19thMarch, call 020 3 757 7700

Hashtags:  #Match4Tommy | #ACLTSavesLives

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March 2016
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