In July 2017 Shilan Madurasinghe, a father from Tottenham, was given the devastating news his young daughter, Camllie, had Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML). AML is an acute form of leukaemia, a cancer of the white blood cells, which accounts for less than 1% of all new cancer cases diagnosed in the UK each year.
Three- year- old Camillie has relapsed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia
Camllie was treated with chemotherapy however relapsed in December, which means the AML has returned. She is currently being treated at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital and needs a stem cell transplant: cells from a healthy person, with the same tissue type, to replace and repair her own damaged cells.
Camllie’s parents are campaigning to raise awareness of Anthony Nolan, the only UK charity which finds and matches donors, of the correct tissue types, with patients who need stem cell transplants. Given her Sri Lankan heritage, Camillie’s donor will most likely be found in the Sri Lankan and wider South Asian community, but her family are urging all who can, to sign up.
Camllie’s match is most likely to come from a person with the same background as her. Her father, Shilan says: “We were devastated when Camllie’s leukamia came back. We were told that because of her background it would be more difficult to find a donor, which is very unfair.
“I urge everybody from the Sri Lankan community to come together and join the stem cell register. Camllie loves reading and running – we just want to see her play at home rather than in hospital.”
Sarah Rogers, Anthony Nolan’s Regional Register Development Manager for London, says: “As we support Camllie and her family as they search for a match it highlights the urgent need for more people from Sri Lankan and other minority ethnic backgrounds to sign up to the Anthony Nolan register.
“Only one in five transplant recipients from a Black, Asian or ethnic minority background receive the best possible match so, if you’re aged 16-30 and are healthy please consider joining our register. You will offer hope to Camllie and other patients searching for a suitable match.”
Anthony Nolan has launched a new campaign, Be A Lifesaver, to raise awareness of stem cell donation and to encourage young men, in particular, to join the register. It costs £40 to recruit each potential donor to the register, so Anthony Nolan relies on financial support.