Family’s heartfelt plea to Jewish News readers as donor search turns critical

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Saving Sipy

Family’s heartfelt plea to Jewish News readers as donor search turns critical

Relatives of a grandmother from Kenton are calling on the community to help save her life after being diagnosed with leukaemia

Stephen is the Jewish News' Foreign Editor

Sipy is in a race against time for a stem cell donor
Sipy is in a race against time for a stem cell donor

The family of a grandmother from Kenton is calling on the Jewish community to help identify an urgent stem cell donor to save her life.

Sipy Howard, 65, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia on her birthday in December, and began intense treatment that same day. AML is the same form of aggressive blood cancer suffered by fellow Kenton gran Sharon Berger, whose family created the phenomenally successful Spit4Mum campaign back in 2012-13.

A member of Neve Shalom Synagogue on Preston Road, Sipy was a beauty therapist and hairdresser before becoming a housewife when her children Sammy, Emma and Jolene were born. She now has two granddaughters – Sofia, who is four years old, and two-year old Sienna.
This week Sammy launched a heart-wrenching appeal, saying: “Mum now urgently needs a bone marrow transplant and we are really looking for the Jewish community, specifically the Sephardi community, to potentially save her life.”

Sipy and her grandchildren
Sipy and her grandchildren

She described Sipy as “a very bubbly woman, always laughing and generally a bit nuts, an amazing wife, an adoring mother and grandma, who dedicates her life to our dad Eli, working so hard to make sure we have everything we need”.

Sammy described Sipy as “a key member of her community, known for her open-house policy and caring for everyone she meets, whether it’s hosting dinner for our extended family and friends every Friday, or trying to make people smile by sending motivational texts”.

Sipi (second left) with her family
Sipy (second left) with her family, including husband Eli

In an effort to encourage Jewish community members to register as donors (if they have not done so already) the family has organised a string of events, saying: “All we need is a swab from your mouth… Her best chance is to find a match is from her ethnic background.”

Sipy, whose family is working with donor charity DKMS, is the same age as Sharon Berger, whose family’s tireless efforts encouraged thousands of British Jews to register with the Anthony Nolan Trust in recent years. The campaign bore fruit, and in May 2013 an apparently successful donor match for Sharon was found, leading to a bone marrow transplant. However last year blood tests revealed that the cancer had returned.


This week, Sipy’s family urged community members to support the Saving Sipy campaign, with a registration event in Kenton on Sunday 19 February at 2pm at the David Ishag Synagogue on Preston Road, and an earlier event in Maida Vale this Sunday.

Full details of these events and others at synagogues across London in the coming days are available on the campaign’s Facebook page.

Saving SipyCan you save someone’s life? #savingsipy

Saving Sipy DKMS UK Chai Cancer Care Anthony Nolan The S&P Sephardi Community Sephardic Jews Spit4Mum #Spit4Mum Rabbi Joseph Dweck Chief Rabbi Mirvis Mitzvah Day Bloodwise The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Leukemia & Lymphoma Awareness

Posted by The Jewish News on Friday, 10 February 2017

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