A CHARITABLE woman is launching a bid to spread awareness for the need for bone marrow donors in Ripley.
Karen Slater’s bid to raise cash for the Anthony Nolan charity comes as her best pal, 38-year-old Ripley woman, Jacqui Beresford battles an aggressive form of leukaemia.
Now mum-of-two Karen, from Melbourne Close, Belper, plans to dye her hair purple for charity and raise awareness of how difficult it is for cancer patients to get a life saving bone marrow transplant. She said: “My friend is very poorly at the moment, but she is lucky in a sense because she has a donor and a date for it – but there’s a hell of a lot who have not.
“I thought dying my hair purple would turn a few heads and if anyone asks me why I did it, I can tell them why - It’s to raise awareness more than anything else and hopefully raise some good money for the charity.”
Karen is hoping a local hairdressers will be able to colour her hair in support of her cause.
She said the waiting list for donors in England was too long.
Patients who are eligible to receive a donor must register with the Anthony Nolan trust, and can sometimes wait for over a year.
Karen’s friend, Jacqui was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia in August, 2010, and counts herself to be ‘one of the lucky ones’ to have been found a suitable donor already.
She registered with the trust in June.
A bone marrow is due to be flown over from Germany for her operation, which is set to take place in October.
Until then Jacqui, from Providence Street, Ripley, says she will have to continue with a course of aggressive chemotherapy, which has seen her barely leave a ward in Birmingham for the past two months.
She said the risky operation is often a leukaemia patient’s ‘last resort’.
The mother-of-three is behind her friend’s call to raise more awareness about the need for bone marrow donors.
She said: “A bone marrow transplant is usual the last resort. It’s the only chance for me now.
“We had to go the Anthony Nolan trust and wait for a donor. Here there’s not enough donors on the register for people to choose from. I think what Karen is doing is a good idea, anything that raises awareness of the need for them – and anything that raises awareness about the disease itself is good.
Jacqui appeared in the News in May after she became immune to the drug, imatinib she was taking for the illness.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence announced it would no longer fund a second phase of treatment if a patient developed an immunity to the drug, leaving Jacqui fearing it would mean no choice but to undergo a bone marrow transplant.