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Saving a Stranger - documentary

Community Channel | 05.10.2006 22:09 | Culture | Health | Indymedia | Birmingham

New Community Channel doc appeals for Asian, black and ethnic minority groups to save lives by joining bone marrow register.

Saving a Stranger is a powerful, heart-wrenching documentary that highlights the suffering of the thousands of people waiting for bone marrow transplants in the UK. This Community Channel exclusive, which broadcasts Thursday, October 19th at 9pm (repeated Sunday, October 22nd at 10pm), aims to inspire people from asian, black and ethnic minority groups to join the bone marrow register in order to find a match that can help save lives.

The film introduces us to the plight of 12-year-old Yvette Gate from Bristol, whose only chance of survival is a bone marrow transplant. Yvette suffers from aplastic anaemia. Her bone marrow has stopped functioning, which means she cannot produce her own blood, and has to rely on transfusions to say alive. Yvette originates from the Gambia and is more likely to find a match from someone of the same ethnic origin. But there is a desperate shortage of all bone marrow donors and a particular shortage of donors from black and ethnic minority groups.

Yvette’s parents, Mary and David Gate, are becoming increasingly desperate to find a bone marrow match for Yvette. They are pinning all their hopes on a bone marrow registration clinic that has taken months of organisation. The film also concentrates on the inspiring Asma Meer, who lost her three-year old son Ibrahim because they couldn’t find a match for a bone marrow transplant.

Asma is now a dedicated campaigner, raising awareness and trying to recruit more donors onto the bone marrow register. The film also introduces us to Roy, who goes through the process of donating his bone marrow to a stranger and Mark, who against all the odds finds a donor and beats leukaemia. Made in association with the Anthony Nolan Trust and African Caribbean Leukemia Trust, Saving a Stranger is narrated by Radio 1 DJ Trevor Nelson, who has a personal interest in this subject.

Saving a Stranger is calling out for more volunteers to join the bone marrow register and help recruit their friends and colleagues where they work, live and socialize. By getting into particular ethnic communities, these volunteers can play a vital role in adding to the diversity of the register. A clinic can then be organized in that person’s location (community centre, mosque, workplace) and blood samples taken from the volunteers. They are then on the register, giving a better chance of survival to desperately ill people like Yvette Gate.

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  1. Notes to Editor — Rakhee