Dorking father with leukaemia urges people to join bone marrow register
A FATHER who has leukaemia is appealing for donors to join a register to save people from the disease.
Chris Speller, of Claremont Court, Dorking, was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia last year.
The father-of-two is undergoing chemotherapy and hopes for a stem cell transplant, which would give him the best chance of recovery.
Mr Speller, who works as a chartered accountant, said: "My immune system is down and when that happens you can't fight disease easily.
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"They try to replace the immune system by seeing if you have got any relatives who are suitable donors who might be able to give you a stem cell.
"My first port of call was to see if my sister could be a donor, but it didn't work. So then I went on a search of the Anthony Nolan scheme."
Anthony Nolan is a charity which keeps a bone marrow register, matching people who donate stem cells to people who need transplants.
There are more than 420,000 people on the register, but successful matches are rare and there are still 1,600 people on the UK waiting list.
Mr Speller added: "Sometimes they can't find a match. For various reasons it just doesn't work, so the more people on the donor register, the better."
Mr Speller, who lives with his wife Tilly and has two children aged ten and 12, has been told there is a potential donor match in America and hopes to undergo a transplant in September.
"Everyone has been very supportive," he said. "I have had people asking if they can donate to me, but it's a bit like finding a needle in a haystack because unless you are related there is a very slim chance of being a match. The best thing to do is donate through Anthony Nolan."
Mr Speller's friend Lisa Edwards, 37, who has been on the register herself for 12 years, said he is coping very well.
"Chris is one of life's good guys," she said. "He smiles through everything."
Mr Speller volunteers as secretary of St Paul's Panthers football team, and says the diagnosis has not altered his lifestyle.
"I get a little bit tired, but otherwise it is not affecting me too much," he said.
"I am still working. It's just things like you don't take the dog for a ten-mile walk; it's more like five miles."
For more information about Anthony Nolan, visit www.anthonynolan.org or call 0303 3030303.