Employees at a Wearside contact centre have signed up to try and find a donor for a brave little girl who desperately needs a stem cell transplant.
Workers at EDF Energy in Sunderland came together to raise awareness of stem cell donation while backing the #AHeroForChloe campaign, to which the Echo has given its full support.
Over 100 employees at the Doxford International Park-based centre signed up to the stem cell register to try and find a stem cell match for seven-year-old Chloe Gray, who has Diamond Blackfan Anaemia, an incredibly rare blood disorder.
Chloe’s condition means that her body doesn’t produce red blood cells and as a result, she has undergone more than 100 blood transfusions in her lie.
Plains Farm Primary School pupil Chloe, of Silksworth, has recently developed antibodies in her blood and now urgently needs a blood stem cell transplant.
Despite a global search, sadly a matching donor has not yet been found for the youngster, who has won three Child of Courage honours at the Echo’s Best of Wearside awards.
As well as 120 signing up to the stem cell register, employees also raised a total of £659.47 for international charity DKMS.
The drive was organised on behalf of Chloe’s mum Francesca Bowser by Stacey Murray, a cultural alignment executive at EDF.
Stacey said: “I wanted to get involved in the hero for Chloe campaign as she is a local girl and unfortunately, as no match has been found for her yet, she often has long hospital stays and has to undergo blood transfusions every few weeks.
“She is only young and should have the opportunity to live life to the full.
“The team at Doxford love getting involved with local causes and fundraising activities, so I knew many people would be willing to help.
“The day was a great success, which not only raised awareness of stem cell donation and just how easy it is to become a donor, but also Chloe’s campaign to find a matching donor.”
Kevin Gatens, head of customer service at EDF Energy Doxford, said: “The drive was an opportunity for us to do something a bit different while also raising awareness of a local cause, which is very deserving of support.
“It was great to see so many people willing to get involved in the campaign and learn about the work that DKMS does to help people that need a stem cell transplant.”
In order to organise the drive, Stacey enlisted the help of Porsha Nunes-Brown, a donor recruitment nurse for DKMS.
Employees were able to do a swab on the day to see if they were a match for Chloe or anyone else on the stem cell register.
The Echo recently launched Sign up For Chloe, calling on Wearsiders to register and find out if they could be a donor for her.
To join the register, visit www.dkms.org.uk to check whether you are eligible.
If so, register your details and you will be sent a swab kit in the post.
Simply swab the inside of your cheek and send the kit back.
Once it has been received, you will be on the register.
Porsha, donor recruitment manager at DKMS said: “Every 14 minutes in the UK, someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer or a related disorder.
“Many people never find the lifesaving blood stem cell donor match they need.
“This isn’t because a match doesn’t exist, it’s simply because there aren’t enough people registered as donors.
“Registering as a potential blood stem cell donor is so easy to do, but I can’t emphasise enough how important it is.
“It could lead to you saving a life.
“If you are aged between 17 and 55-years-old, please register as a potential lifesaver at www.dkms.org/chloe.”