An Isle of Man resident who made an appeal for stem cell donors says she has been overwhelmed by the response.
Jane Subachus, from Sandygate, has myelofibrosis and made the appeal after being told by doctors that she urgently requires new stem cells to rebuild her immune system, so she can fight infection.
After the appeal went out some weeks ago and was featured on page one of the Manx Independent, Jane said the response was astounding and happily a suitable match has now been found for her.
’I just have to say a huge thank you,’ she said.
’I’m so grateful for what everybody has done for this appeal. I never thought we would get so many people coming forward.’
The Anthony Nolan charity, which supports the appeal, uses its register to match potential stem cell donors to patients with blood cancer or blood disorders, who need stem cell transplants. It also carries out pioneering research to increase stem cell transplant success, and supports patients.
A series of recruitment events around the island over the past month has boosted the number registered as potential donors by around 600. Even before the events at Douglas Rugby Club, the Strand shopping centre, and various businesses around the island, 1,900 people in the Isle of Man were already signed up.
Ivan Bratty, chairman of the Anthony Nolan, Isle of Man Friends, said: ’It’s amazing, the response we get from such a small island. Particularly considering that out of the people on the register here, we have had 24 people who have actually been donors.’
He said around 250 people had signed up directly at the various recruitment events, including Ramsey Fun Day, and well over 300 on-line with Anthony Nolan UK.
Mr Bratty said the Anthony Nolan charity recruited potential donors aged 16 to 30, as statistically, this gives the best results, but a separate organisation (www.DKMS.org) also recruits people aged up to 55.
Jane, who is 51, was first diagnosed with myelofibrosis in 2009 and received a transplant from her brother, Paul Sellors, who was a perfect match for her. But earlier this year, she began feeling unwell again and was told that the rare blood disorder had returned. A second transplant from her brother was unlikely to work, so the search was on for a new donor.
Initially, she said she had responded personally to the many messages of support she had received.
’Everybody who has responded should be so proud,’ she said
’But I’m sorry I have fallen behind and I just can’t send a personal message to everyone.
’Sometimes people are quick to criticise the Isle of Man, but when an appeal goes out, everyone pulls together and it’s an amazing place to live. I can’t thank the Manx public enough.’
Thanks to the response to her appeal, Jane hopes to go into hospital in Liverpool for the transplant in mid-August.
She said she was humbled by the messages of support she had received and the kindness of strangers who had even bought flowers for her.
A spokesman for Anthony Nolan said the appeal had seen a ’remarkable response’ with a 300 per cent increase in the number of people signing up for the donor register.
People can register as potential stem cell donors simply by supplying a mouth swab which provides a DNA sample and they can contact Anthony Nolan directly if they wish at anthonynolan.org/join