Potential bone marrow donors urged to take part in school screening (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Event to find potential bone marrow donors for Sharon Berger to be held at King Solomon High School in Barkingside in association with Anthony Nolan Trust
Young Jewish people are being urged to turn up at a Barkingside school and spit in a cup to help save the life of woman who desperately needs a bone marrow transplant.
Sharon Berger, 61, has Acute Myeloid Leukaemia and needs a transplant in the next four weeks if she is to survive.
Finding a suitable donor is proving difficult because Mrs Berger’s best match is likely to be an Ashkenazi Jew.
The family of the Harrow grandmother have appealed for potential donors to come forward through the national press and social media sites Facebook and Twitter.
Carly McKenzie, 25, of Geariesville Gardens in Barkingside was so touched by the family’s desperate search that she took it upon herself to organise a mass registration event at King Solomon High School in Forest Road, Barkingside where she is a governor.
She said: “When I saw the story, I thought if this was my mum I would want people to do everything in the world to help.
“I sent off for a pack to see if I was a match, but then I thought I can do more than that so I organised this event at the school.”
Mrs Berger’s most likely match is a Jewish person aged 16-30, and Miss McKenzie has been advertising the event at King Solomon in local synagogues, schools and through Facebook.
Being screened is a simple matter of spitting in a cup. After doing that potential donors will be added to the register of the Anthony Nolan Trust.
Miss McKenzie said: “Our target was to get 30 people down to the school, but we already have 85 confirmed – including students and teachers.
“Even if people aren’t Jewish I would urge them to come down and register because if you aren’t a match for Sharon you could still be a match for somebody else.
“This is the first drive of its kind, but hopefully other people will pick up on the idea.
“Doing something as simple as spitting in a cup could save Sharon’s life. We only have four weeks now, so we need to get as many people as possible involved in this.”
Mrs Berger's son Jonni, added: "We have got a lot of new people registered, but unfortunately we haven't managed to find a match for mum yet.
"I think what Carly is doing is wonderful and we as a family are very grateful."
The screening event takes place on February 13 between 3.30pm-7.30pm. To register an interest on Facebook click here
Mrs Berger’s family’s search for a donor continues on Twitter. Follow it by searching for the hashtag #spit4mum
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