Dad will die unless bone marrow donor is found
The family of a young Armagh man in desperate need of a bone marrow donor today made an emotional appeal for people to come forward and check if they could save his life through being a match.
Barry Riding, a 29-year-old from Jonesborough, is clinging to hope that a bone marrow match will be found to increase his chances of long-term survival from a tumour in his heart.
The engineer was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in October last year and went through six gruelling courses of chemotherapy before doctors told him he was in remission.
The south Armagh man was delighted when his wife, Karen, gave birth to their daughter, Avril, in April. But just a month later, the young family received the devastating news that Barry was not in remission and had a tumour in his heart.
His family say a bone marrow transplant is his only hope of long-term survival.
His father, mother, sister and half-sister have already been unsuccessfully screened to determine whether they could donate.
The Anthony Nolan Trust, a charity which runs the UK's largest bone marrow register, is helping the Riding family appeal to the public to come forward and check if they could potentially be a match.
It is hosting a clinic in Newry Sports Centre, on Patrick Street in the city, from 2pm-7pm, on September 17.
Barry was too ill to speak to the Belfast Telegraph but speaking on behalf of the family, his aunt, Bernie Connelly, said the whole family was " desperately hoping for a match".
"All of us are completely devastated by this. Barry is such a great person, he's a wee pet," she said.
"Finding a match really is our last hope for him. We are appealing to anyone who can come along to Newry on the 17th to please do so."
Mrs Connelly said her nephew, a graduate of Queen's University, was "in good form" considering all he has been through.
Belfast man John McManus was a 22-year-old medical student when he was found to be a bone marrow match with a young woman in need of one in October 2005.
Now a fully-qualified doctor, he urged people to come forward to potentially help Barry.
" Everybody dreams of being able to save someone else's life and this is the most fantastic, yet simple, way to do that," Mr McManus said.
"Donating bone marrow is as simple as giving blood. It is virtually painless, anyone who can tolerate donating blood would have no problem donating bone marrow. It takes around four or five hours to complete the procedure, it really is very simple."
The trust also hopes to increase the register of its potential donors. The main criteria to donate bone marrow is that you must be 18-40, in good health, weigh more than eight stone and not be severely overweight.
For more information, log on to www.anthonynolan.org.uk or telephone 7284 1234.