Friends and family of an east Belfast man are appealing for your help to save his life after he was struck by cancer for the third time.
At the start of the year, Andrew Campbell (28), who grew up in the Belmont area, was told his only hope of a cure is to undergo a bone marrow transplant.
His childhood friend Bryan Martin explained: “Andrew’s brother isn’t a match for the transplant and there is nothing his family and friends can do except get on the bone marrow transplant register in the hope of being a match — and getting the word out to absolutely everyone we know to do the same.
“Andrew is such a great guy, you couldn’t ask for a better mate, so we can’t just stand back and watch this happen.
“It’s important for people to know how easy it is to become a donor — no one sticks a huge needle into your back now, it’s as simple as giving blood; they just filter the cells out of your blood.”
Andrew was first diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma while studying optometry at university in Scotland.
He fought it successfully and was given the all clear, but the illness returned in October 2009 when doctors discovered new tumours. Again Andrew fought the disease and was in remission — unfortunately this was to last just eight months.
Now living in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne with his girlfriend Emma Nield, a fellow optometry graduate, Andrew is currently undergoing yet another course of chemotherapy.
Emma told the Community Telegraph: “The chemotherapy is very strong, some doses have caused Andrew to develop septicaemia and fungal pneumonia. It is horrendous.
“Andrew’s immune system is so weak that only a stem cell transplant will keep the disease at bay for good. If no match is found, Andrew will be forced to keep having more chemotherapy and risks developing another tumour.
“As his girlfriend, it is awful watching him having to go through treatment and I feel absolutely helpless. This is the one thing I can do,” said Emma.
“Donating bone marrow could help so many people who are in need of transplants to live the ‘normal’ lives that we take for granted.”
On this side of the channel, potential bone marrow donors face another challenge — the four-month wait to register before you can become a donor.
Bryan added: “This is why it’s so important we get the word out now. Even if you do register, there is a four-month wait until they can decide to match you up.
To find out more about donating bone marrow, visit www.nhsbt.nhs.uk or www.anthonynolan.org, http://www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/bonemarrow or you can call 0300 123 23 23.