TODAY, somewhere in Germany, somebody will be paying a visit to their local hospital.
This ‘somebody’ is the mystery donor who will hopefully clear Burton teacher Katherine Sinfield of her leukaemia.
The 33-year-old from Balfour Street, who has been the centrepiece of the Mail’s Take Five Minutes campaign, said: “It’s remarkable that a complete stranger will be taking time away from their jobs today to donate their stem cells for me. As the process is kept extremely confidential, all I know is that the donor is from Germany.
“Since I have been diagnosed with leukaemia, I have heard of lots of people who have had successful bone marrow transplants from German donors. Words will always fail to thank my donor for their ‘gift of life’, but at the same time, it raises the question as to why so many donors come from abroad?
“It must just boil down to the fact that German people are far more willing to sign up to the register which shows greater awareness and education is needed in the UK.
“Personally, I feel that the term ‘bone marrow transplant’ is partly responsible for a low participation rate in the UK. Everyone assumes that because they hear the word ‘transplant’, that it involves an operation – it doesn’t, neither for me or the donor.
“Whether you sign up with the NHS British Bone Marrow Registry or a charity such as Anthony Nolan , signing up is just a case of giving a small blood sample or spitting in a tube.”
Statistics show that every 20 minutes, someone in the UK falls ill with a form of blood cancer.
The Anthony Nolan charity managed to find 937 matches for patients in 2009/2010 – but for every life the charity managed to save, there was another who wasn’t so lucky because of a lack of donors.
Katherine said: “The Anthony Nolan charity are responsible for finding my match and so I am eternally grateful to both them and the haematology team at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.”