Thu, 23 Jul 2020
THE daughter of a Tadley man is calling for more people to sign up as stem cell donors as she desperately seeks a match for her dying father.
Father of-two Mark Kan suffered a relapse in his battle against leukaemia last month and urgently needs a stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor for the best chance of survival.
His mixed Chinese heritage is making finding a suitable donor considerably more difficult however, with those from a black, Asian or ethnic minority background only having a 20-per-cent chance of receiving the best possible match.
Mr Kan’s daughter Lauren, 23, said: “It is an agonising wait hoping the doctors find a matching donor – you are filled with sheer terror and desperation.
“My dad is the kindest, most loving and incredible man I know.
“He loves his family, friends and two newly-adopted puppies from Greece.
“He just couldn’t split the siblings apart.
“The thought of not having him to love and hold causes me, my younger brother, my mum and his parents pain beyond imagination.
“So many families have to go through these types of nightmares and I’ve prayed we would never have to relive ours.
“The complications caused by the Covid-19 pandemic meant whilst dad was in hospital we couldn’t see him at all.
“It was awful not being able to look after him or see him.”
Mr Kan was originally diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in early 2016 and, after nine months of intensive chemotherapy treatment, was given the all clear and second chance at life.
Since then, he has had successful check-ups while being in remission – until the devastating news in June that his cancer had returned.
Ms Kan continued: “So many families have to post appeals for their loved ones, so what makes ours different?
“Nothing. We are in the same boat as them, incredibly vulnerable, frightened and can only use hope and the selflessness of others to keep us going.
“As a family we feel completely helpless, so we want to do all we can to make people aware of the need for more stem cell donors.
“We know that it will help everyone on the waiting list, including my dad.
“My dad needs a helping hand to beat this disease.
“He would do anything to help someone, now it’s his turn for someone to help him.”
Leukaemia and stem cell charity Anthony Nolan has jumped into action to search its register for a stranger to give Mr Kan another chance at life.
Rebecca Pritchard, who leads the register development team at Anthony Nolan, said: “We are doing everything we can to support Mark’s search for a matching donor during this difficult time.
“Every single person who signs up to the register has the potential to give hope to someone who is in desperate need of a lifesaving stem cell transplant.
“We’re particularly calling on people from East Asia and other minority ethnic backgrounds to consider joining the register, as well as young men aged 16 to 30.
“Young men provide more than 50 per cent of all stem cell donations, but make up just 18 per cent of our register.
“Together, we can work towards a future where nobody is waiting for their match.”
Anthony Nolan recruits people aged 16 to 30 to the stem cell register as research has shown younger people are more likely to be chosen to donate.
To find about more about joining the Anthony Nolan register, or to find out more about the different ways you can support, visit www.anthonynolan.org/MatchForMark.
Those aged 30 to 55 can visit https://www.dkms.org.uk/en