Reason to cell-ebrate! Community tops donor list

Reason to cell-ebrate! Community tops donor list

Golders Green, Finchley and Hendon have the highest number of registered stem cell donors in the UK, a national charity revealed this week.

The news comes exactly one year after a huge campaign to get Jews registered as donors to save a Kenton mother who was desperately ill with acute myeloid leukaemia

Sharon Berger, 62, is “now able to lead a normal life” a year after a live-saving transplant from a stranger her family signed up.

Her son Jonni told the Jewish News she has “improved a lot” since the treatment and is “doing well”.

“The Jewish community should be proud of itself,” said Jonni, whose Spit4Mum campaign helped get thousands of community members onto the Anthony Nolan register.

“These statistics show that the level of goodwill and social action in the Jewish community far outweighs its size relative to the population.”

Together with his sister Caroline, Jonni worked tirelessly for months to register Ashkenazi Jews as donors, because their genetic heritage means they are much more likely to be able to provide a life-saving stem cell match.

Those efforts were this week on full display, as the Anthony Nolan Trust mapped donors by location. Several areas with large Jewish populations came in the national top ten, including Hampstead, Kilburn, Chipping Barnet, Hornsey and Wood Green.

With Sharon now able to travel around the UK on holiday this summer, the family were making the most of having her at home, after ten terrible months when she was in hospital.

“We’ve no idea who the donor is,” said Jonni, “but they registered while we were running the Spit4Mum campaign, so there’s a good chance they may be from the Jewish community.”

He added: “Both parties have to remain anonymous for a certain period, after which both the donor and recipient can write, which mum fully intends to do. One day we may find out who saved her life.”

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