Comedian Al Murray urges people to sign stem cell register after nephew is struck by a rare blood disorder
Al Murray’s six-year-old nephew Finley Relf has been diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of leukaemia and needs a transplant before Christmas.
Murray has appealed for people to sign the blood stem cell register. Finley has a rare and aggressive form of the disease and his only hope is a bone marrow transplant.
Finley’s parents Ben and Nicky Relf became alarmed when their son started losing weight and sought medical advice. Doctors diagnosed juvenile myelomonocytic leukaemia (JMML), a rare type of blood disorder that occurs in young children.
Finley, from Haywards Heath, West Sussex, is undergoing chemotherapy at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.
Murray, famous for his Pub Landlord character, told Sky News: “Finley is undergoing chemotherapy but his best chance of fighting the disease is a bone marrow transplant. He has JMML, a super-rare leukaemia and 12 kids a year get it probably, and he needs a blood stem cell transplant.”
Murray said Finley was undergoing “gruelling” treatment but was a “chirpy six-year-old who wants to run around and go swimming. He’s critically ill, there is a 50/50 chance of him surviving and without the transplant, there is no cure for JMML.”
“We are looking for something as precise as a fingerprint. Someone out there is your genetic twin which is kind of what we are looking for. Go to the website, put your info in, find out if you are eligible and then the charity will send you a pack. You run a swab around the inside of your cheek, you send it back and then you are on the register. It really is as simple as that. You could be saving someone’s life by doing something that is so quick and easy to do.”
Murray said Finley needs a transplant “before Christmas, this has got to happen right away”.
Jonathan Pearce, chief executive of the blood stem cell charity DKMS, which is looking for a donor for Finley, said: “Even though we are working with Al Murray in very sad and serious circumstances, he is doing fantastic work with us to highlight that only 2% of the UK population are on the blood stem registry.
“We desperately need more people to come forward as donors if we’re to find a match for every person with blood cancer.
“Blood cancer is the third most common cause of cancer death in the UK, and at any one time there are around 2,000 people in the UK in need of a blood stem cell transplant. I would urge anyone between 17 and 55 and in general good health to request a swab kit from dkms.org.uk so we can help find a match for Al’s nephew Finley and all the other people that need one.”
The story was originally reported by Sky News : https://news.sky.com/story/al-murray-appeals-for-people-to-sign-stem-cell-register-after-nephew-is-struck-by-rare-blood-disorder-11863254