Appeal for Leicestershire donors to give blood stem cells to help leukaemia patients
Donors saved these three leukaemia patients' lives – and they are urging you to make it your new year's resolution to join the register and potentially do the same.
Rik Basra, Bethany Mickleburgh and Katie Musson all owe their lives to people who donated blood stem cells.
They hope more people will register as potential donors in 2013 to increase the chances of patients finding a match.
Leicestershire police officer Rik Basra underwent a stem cell transplant on Christmas Eve 2011. Now, he is looking forward to going back to work in February.
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The father-of-two said: "It has been a hard year, with a lot a milestones to reach along the way.
"Coming out of a transplant doesn't mean the story is over.
"You almost become your own barometer watching for signs on how successful the transplant is."
Rik has had to spend much of the past year in isolation to minimise the risk of picking up infections which his immune system will not be able to fight.
He and his wife Kas threw themselves into campaigning for more donors to join the Antony Nolan donor register and hope to have encouraged 3,000 people to sign up by March.
Rik, from Misterton, said: "I was born and brought up in Leicestershire but my heritage is Indian and Asian donors make up just four per cent of people on the register.
"In an instant, my chances of finding a match had nosedived.
"I am planning to go back to work in February but our campaign will continue. Half of patients never find a donor – I can't stop doing this work."
Teenager Bethany Mickleburgh, from Western Park, is also urging more people to sign the register – and has thanked those who have already attended recruitment events.
The 15-year-old is flourishing at school after going back to the classroom after a stem cell transplant.
While she tries to get back to a normal life, she has the satisfaction of knowing that an event at Leicester Tigers' Welford Road stadium to find more donors attracted more nearly 2,000 people – a record for the Anthony Nolan Trust.
It was organised by her sister Jemma, 19, who is carrying on the work as a medical student at Sheffield Medical School.
Bethany said: "I'd like to say a big thank-you to all the people who were part of the Tigers event.
"We know that quite a significant number of potential donors were found."
Katie Musson, 24, from Quorn, has had two stem cell transplants. The last was in August 2011 after the first failed.
She said: "With the first operation we knew the match wasn't very good but doctors said I needed it and it would be good enough to do it.
"It was a total shock in April last year when it came back – I didn't think it could.
"I am now getting on quite well but still get really tired and worn out.
"The donor wrote to me last Christmas wondering how I was getting on. It was wonderful to think they cared."
To sign up to the register, call 0303 303 0303 or visit: