UK & World News

  • 22 May 2014, 8:43

Fiancee's Viral Campaign Finds Donor For Partner

A woman who launched a desperate bid to find a stem cell donor to save the life of her fiance has been successful after her campaign became a hit on social media.

Kate Robertson had just 60 days to find a match after her partner Mike Brandon, 29, was diagnosed with leukaemia in March while she was travelling in Burma.

His three brothers were tested and found to not be correct matches, so Ms Robertson, who flew back home as soon as she found out, decided to act.

Ms Robertson's #Shake4Mike campaign encouraged people to post pictures of themselves on social media shaking their heads to show that they had signed up to the bone marrow register.

Less than a month after the 31-year-old physiotherapist launched her campaign, a donor was found.

The blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan said it has caused a 650% increase in people joining the bone marrow register, with a surge in the couple's home city of Bristol.

The charity said more than 7,000 people applied online between May 4 and 12, compared with 939 people during the same period last year.

Ms Robertson described the response as "astounding" and added she was "hugely grateful" to Mr Brandon's donor and everyone else who joined the register.

She said: "It's been an incredibly difficult time so the relief we're feeling is overwhelming.

"A matching donor means that we can go ahead with Mike's bone marrow transplant.

"We know we have a rocky road ahead as a transplant is a serious procedure, but knowing there is a good match for Mike is a fantastic boost that we desperately needed."

Ms Robertson hopes the campaign will continue going strong, adding: "We have been very lucky in finding a match but I know that not everyone is as fortunate.

"We still hope everyone will keep shaking their faces at cancer and continue to spread the #Shake4Mike campaign to help others in Mike's situation."

Ann O'Leary, head of register development at Anthony Nolan, said Mr Brandon's story had "inspired thousands".

She said: "It's our goal to find a match for everyone who needs a transplant so it's wonderful that Mike's friends and family are carrying on the fight against blood cancer and urging even more people to come forward and support the work of Anthony Nolan."

Mr Brandon proposed three weeks before his bride-to-be went on a six-month backpacking trip at the beginning of this year.

After she left, the Oxford Brookes conservation and ecology graduate started suffering from fatigue and night sweats.

Within hours of visiting a doctor and having blood tests Mr Brandon learnt he had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

:: People aged 16 to 30 who are in good health can join the register online at www.anthonynolan.org.

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