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Silvertown woman appeals for stem cell donors to give her a second chance at life

PUBLISHED: 15:00 05 February 2017

Rajee Nedunchezhian has lived with leukaemia for twenty years.

Rajee Nedunchezhian has lived with leukaemia for twenty years.

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A woman who has lived with leukaemia most of her life is appealing to south Asian people to give her another chance at life by registering as stem cell donors.

Rajee and her husband Mani moved to the UK from Chennai, India, in 2010.Rajee and her husband Mani moved to the UK from Chennai, India, in 2010.

Rajee Nedunchezian has lived with chronic myeloid leukaemia for 20 years since being first diagnosed at the age of 12.

Now the 33-year-old’s condition has taken a turn for the worse and her best chance of a cure is a stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor which is why the software engineer and her husband, Mani, who live in Booth Road, Silvertown, launched their appeal.

“My wife has been fighting cancer since she was young, but now she needs people’s support to win this battle. A transplant could give us our lives back,” Mani said.

A recent test showed that Rajee’s disease has progressed to the point where drugs alone cannot help her manage it with an increase in “blast cells”, abnormal white blood cells, in her bloodstream.

According to Anthony Nolan, a blood cancer charity, fewer than four per cent of people on the UK’s stem cell register are Asian making it hard to find what could be a life-saving match.

Mani warned: “It’s going to be difficult to find Rajee a donor unless we have a lot more Asians on the register - that’s why we want to raise awareness.

“It takes very little effort and is almost painless to donate. I think everyone wants to do something good for others,” the 33-year-old IT consultant added.

Describing his wife, who is being treated by staff at Hammersmith hospital, as ambitious and independent, Mani, who ran the London Marathon last year to raise awareness and £6,500 for Anthony Nolan, said: “Nothing holds her back, but having cancer does limit what she can do. Pretty much everything in her life is affected by it.”

Sarah Rogers from Anthony Nolan said: “We urgently need more people from Indian and south Asian backgrounds to register as donors to make sure everyone can receive a second chance at life. It’s easy to join up and it could make a massive difference to someone with blood cancer.”

For more about Rajee’s appeal visit healrajee.org. To join the Anthony Nolan register go to anthonynolan.org.


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