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Forest Hill woman's appeal leads to life-saving bone marrow donation
A FOREST Hill woman who appealed to News Shopper readers to find a life-saving bone marrow donor has thanked people following her successful appeal.
Bengu Shail, aged 34, of Mayow Road, Forest Hill, was initially diagnosed in September 2009 with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
After two years of intensive treatment Ms Shail entered remission and began to rebuild her life, joining Macmillan Cancer Support as a case studies officer in order to work with cancer patients in need.
But last October the cancer returned - this time in her breast, liver, gut, kidney, bones, back and lymph nodes.
Ms Shail, who was born in north Cyprus, was informed by consultants that her only chance of survival was to receive a bone marrow stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor.
She contacted charity the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust for help and donor registration sessons were held at Conisborough College, Catford, and also in north London.
The appeal also reached international shores, with individuals from the United States, Australia, Japan and Turkey joining local registries.
Her country of origin, Cyprus, went on to hold four separate registration events to raise awareness.
Now, after one came forward, Ms Shail is expected to receive the transplant she need later this week.
She said: "There are no words to describe how grateful I am to be here right now. But if it wasn’t for the help of all the wonderful people who have supported my appeal, I would never have got this second chance.
"I just hope that by raising awareness and showing how easy it is to get on the register, I can help the thousands of other blood cancer patients who, like me, are also fighting to stay alive and live their dreams".
It has been estimated that Bengu’s appeal achieved over 2,000 new donors joining the registry in three months.
For more information on how to become a bone marrow donor visit aclt.org or call 020 8240 4480.