Plea for donors in bid to beat cancer

A STUD hand who works for The Queen will battle odds of more than 100,000-1 next week as he bids to find a successful bone marrow transplant to help his desperate fight against cancer.

John Reed, of Dersingham, was first diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphona in 1989 and has managed to get into remission three times without the help of an unrelated transplant.

But as the married father-of-two begins his fourth attempt to battle the disease he has been told the best chance of a full cure is through an unrelated bone marrow transplant and he is now waiting to see if a match can be found.

The Anthony Nolan Trust will be holding a bone marrow donor recruitment clinic at Sandringham Visitor Centre, on Wednesday, between 4.30pm and 7.30pm.

Mr Reed, who works as a stud hand on the Sandringham Estate, said: "It is so important that people register as it gives people like me another chance.

"The more people who sign up, the more people on the register who may match a patient.

"Even if those attending the session are not able to help me, they may be able to help someone else.

"It must be such a great feeling of satisfaction knowing that you have been able to help a person in a way that no-one else is able to do."

Mr Reed is also a retained firefighter with the Sandringham crew and several fulltime fighters have agreed to go on the register.

Steve Mason (49), of Gaywood, who has also served as a retained firefighter, joined the Anthony Nolan Trust as a donor more than 30 years ago.

He told the Lynn News: "It is just a roller coaster of emotions. You are so excited, but a bit scared at the same time as you do not know exactly what will happen.

"You are dealt with by experts and the level of care you get is fantastic.

"It does not always work, but at least by donating you have given time and hope.

"By the time they get a transplant they are virtually on their last legs, which makes you feel all the more humble."

Mr Mason said the myth of large needles being used to extract marrow from the hip bone were unfounded and revealed the procedure is more like a blood transfusion.

The only problem for the donor is that the drugs used may give flu-like symptoms.

The main criteria for donors is that they must be aged between 18 and 40, be in good health, weigh more than eight stone (51kg), not be severely overweight and be willing to donate to any patient they ever match.

Once a donor joins, they will remain on the register until their 60th birthday.