THE Irish Minstrels branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóiri Éireann in Glasgow are backing an appeal for stem cell donors, as one of their students, Sian Kirk (above) battles a serious blood disorder.
The teenager was diagnosed with Severe Aplastic Anaemia earlier this year after reporting feeling ‘tired in class.’ The serious blood condition occurs when bone marrow fails to produce enough blood cells and falls under Bone Marrow Failure Syndrome. It causes bruising, extreme exhaustion and lack of concentration.
Sian, from East Dunbartonshire, underwent chemotherapy in May ahead of a bone marrow transplant to treat the condition. Unfortunately, she didn’t respond to the transplant, so was given more chemotherapy while awaiting another transplant. The most recent transplant was given to her by her sister and according to Lyn Crumlish, the press officer for the Irish Minstrels, the current situation is looking brighter for Sian.
“I got a lovely and very hopeful message from Sian’s mum Jacqui recently,” she said. “Sian’s blood platelets have shown a slight increase, which is a sign that her second transplant is taking. Sian has been in hospital now for more than 10 weeks and the family are praying that they get to take her home soon. It has been quite an ordeal for Sian and her family.
“We wanted to raise awareness of Sian’s illness and encourage people to become donors. To become a donor requires a very simple test, which is done through the Anthony Nolan Trust. You simply visit their website to request a swab pack and simply post it back to them. If you are a match, 90 per cent of people then donate by giving blood, the other 10 per cent through their bone marrow. The donor must be between 16-30 years old.”
Jacqui confirmed, when speaking to The Irish Voice, that the situation is looking a lot better for Sian and that the family hoped to have her back home soon. She also threw her support behind The Irish Minstrels campaign for more stem cell donors and explained that having already undertaken fundraisers in support of the Anthony Nolan Trust, the family are keen to do more for them in the future.
For more information on Severe Aplastic Anaemia and the work that Anthony Nolan UK do, visit their website: www.anthonynolan.org