Father’s Day plea for stem cell donors to help save a parent's life

Tony Ferreira (38287097)

ISLANDERS aged 16 to 30 are being urged to give up a little time on Father’s Day for an act which could save a parent’s life.

Tony Ferreira has been living with a rare and aggressive form of blood cancer since 2017, with doctors saying that his best chance of survival would be through a stem cell transplant.

Mr Ferreira, who has lived in UUֱ for almost 20 years having moved to the Island from his native Madeira, had to make fortnightly trips to a London hospital for treatment for three years after his diagnosis with Sézary syndrome.

For the last two years he has been in remission, but still has the syndrome and remains in need of a transplant.

A local charity has launched an appeal for people to come to the café at Springfield Stadium this Sunday and register as a donor.

The UUֱ Friends of Anthony Nolan said the appeal was aimed at those in good health in the 16 to 30 age bracket.

The café will be open between 10am and 4pm, with attendees needing to scan a code into their phones, fill in a form and allow cheek swabs to be taken so that they can be added to the register.

Tracey Hughes from the charity said: “This does not mean that people automatically go on to donate stem cells – it means the person’s name is added to a register of thousands of other people used worldwide who are also willing to be a potential match for someone with a form of blood cancer.

“Many UUֱ residents have either been recipients of a stem cell donation, or have themselves been donors, a process that these days is very similar to giving blood.”

Mr Ferreira’s wife, Osvalda, with whom he has a 17-year-old daughter, said: “The UUֱ Friends ran a donor recruitment event for us in 2018 soon after Tony’s diagnosis – many people came forward, but unfortunately, we did not find a match.

“We stay hopeful and would be so grateful for people to spare a little of their time – it would mean so much to us as a family because it could change Tony’s life, and ours, forever.”

Although medical research has indicated that younger donors provided the greatest chance for transplant success, those who are over 30 can still register through the international charity DKMS: dkms.org.uk.

Islanders aged 16 to 30 who are unable to attend this Sunday can sign up at anthonynolan.org/joinjersey.

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