Luton mum appeals for people to become bone marrow donors after son's life saved by 'kindness of a stranger'
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A Luton mum is appealing for people to join an urgent bone marrow drive after her young son’s life was saved by a transplant.
Sarah Cripps, who was born in Luton, is taking part in the recruitment campaign to give back after her son Teddy was diagnosed with a rare Leukemia.
Teddy was diagnosed at 18 months with AML in April 2022 – and given just a 13 per cent chance of survival. But the tot went on to make a full recovery following a bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor.
Sarah said: “Devastatingly his non-identical twin was not found to match so we had to rely on the kindness of a stranger to save our son.
“Leukaemia isn’t as rare as many would think and numbers are rising in both diagnosis and also those needing transplant due to new data around mortality. Which is why we are taking action to get more lifesavers on the register.”
Teddy's recent one-year post-transplant check-up revealed he has a 97% chance of being cured.
She added: "Our goal is to inspire our local communities during these tough times without asking for financial donations. People can simply swing by, do a quick cheek swab in a COVID-style drive-through, and possibly become a life-saving match. Tesco's Superstore in Dunstable and also Caddington Social Club are allowing us to use their premises for our two events in the area which is incredibly supportive.”
Sarah emphasised that donating is not scary or invasive. She said: “Most people will be able to go to work and do normal activities including sports within a couple of days.”
Sarah is also passionate about increasing the BAME community's representation on the register. “Teddy couldn't find a match in his twin brother George (siblings rarely do). But he had a 70 per cent chance of finding a donor, while some of our BAME friends have as low as 20 per cent.”
As part of the national bone marrow recruitment event, a bone marrow drive will take place in Luton and Dunstable from 9am to 2pm on Sunday (September 17). The 15 independent drives taking place across the UK are being led by mums whose children have faced or are facing Leukemia.
To register, visit the Swab to Save a Child website.