Belfast Telegraph

Belfast mum with rare cancer finds her match for stem-cell transplant

Sharon McCloskey has found in a match in her search for a stem-cell donor.
Sharon McCloskey has found in a match in her search for a stem-cell donor.

By Eimear McGovern

A Belfast mother-of-three who has a rare form of leukaemia has been told a stem-cell match has been found in her search for a donor.

Sharon McCloskey's search for someone to donate stem cells that will allow her to receive a transplant is now over.

She shared the news on Facebook, thanking her supporters for their care and encouragement.

"Hi everybody, Dublin just phoned us there and I got my one - a nine out of ten match," she said.

Sharon McCloskey
Sharon McCloskey

The 43-year-old from west Belfast was given a leukaemia diagnosis in February after complaining of tiredness to her doctor.

After being told it would be difficult to find a match because of her rare tissue type, she appealed to the public to help save her life by getting a swab kit to test if they are a match.

Her friends and family started the Save Our Sunflower campaign and and were inundated by the thousands of people who came forward to get swabbed and help save Sharon's life.

OUR SUNFLOWER HAS BEEN SAVED. OUR SUNFLOWER HAS BEEN SAVED. 🌻🌻🌻🌻🌻🌻🌻🌻🌻🌻🌻🌻🌻 Sharon has just received the call that she...

Posted by Save our Sunflower Campaign on Friday, August 2, 2019

On Facebook on Friday, they thanked that "beautiful and special stranger" who they described as an angel.

"You have given a mother back to her children. You will never know what this means to us, her family and her kids," they said.

"We are in tears, tears of joy this time."

Sharon McCloskey in hospital
Sharon McCloskey in hospital

They said they intend to continue campaigning to help other families and children find their own special stranger.

"It has been unbelievable. I'm glad it's got so big. I'm glad it's gone the way it has because people really need to know that it's free, it's so easy to give and you are saving a life," she told the Belfast Telegraph in May.

Rebecca Sedgwick, National Register Development Manager for Anthony Nolan, said: "It’s fantastic to hear that a donor has been found for Sharon and her transplant can now go ahead. Sharon along with her friends and family have inspired an incredible number of people to join the Anthony Nolan stem cell register.

Sharon McCloskey and her family
Sharon McCloskey and her family

"Sadly, not everyone can find a lifesaving match but by joining the Anthony Nolan register – which is a simple process – you could change the life of someone like Sharon. Without you there is no cure."

Sharon appealed to people to sign up with the charity Anthony Nolan or DKMS to see if they are a match.

If you are aged 16 to 30 you can apply to be a donor with Anthony Nolan by clicking here.

Sharon McCloskey with her family
Sharon McCloskey with her family

If you are aged over 30, you can apply to register with DKMS as a donor by clicking here.

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