Thursday, 6 August 2009

Marrow match found for Carlton leukaemia man

A leukaemia sufferer whose long-lost brother was ruled out as a possible bone marrow donor is to have a transplant operation.

Leicester Royal Infirmary NHS Trust announced on Tuesday that an unrelated donor had been identified as being a match for John Gravell. Mr Gravell, of Carlton, near Hinckley in Leicestershire, used the media to track down his long-lost brother Barry in October. At the time it seemed Barry offered the only hope of providing a suitable bone-marrow transplant in a life-saving operation.

Unsuitable donor
However, tests performed after John was reunited with his younger brother indicated that Barry was an unsuitable donor. Barry Gravell came forward in response to a media appeal but on Tuesday a hospital spokesman for Leicester Royal Infirmary, where John is being treated, said: "John Gravell has now decided to proceed with a bone marrow transplant. "The unrelated donor identified as being a match for John is now being processed and health checks are being carried out. "As yet no date has been fixed for the transplant procedure, although it is envisaged it will not take place before the end of November." However, doctors said in mid-October that unless John underwent a transplant within six to eight weeks, his body would be too weak to withstand the surgery.

Urgent appeal
John had issued an urgent appeal for the 49-year-old to come forward because the brothers had not been in contact since the 1970s when Barry walked out following a row with other family members. The pair enjoyed an emotional reunion when it was revealed there was a one-in-four chance their bone marrow would match. John was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in May and underwent unsuccessful chemotherapy.

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