Will an email save a life WHEN media lawyer Richard Murray switched on his computer earlier this week, he discovered an extraordinary email.
The chain letter, from an old friend, was an invitation to attend a party at one of London's most exclusive addresses. But the message didn't contain the standard request for a charitable donation. It was a heartfelt plea asking him and 200 other people to go to an event at the Lord Chancellor's apartment in the House of Lords, to help save the life of a woman he had never met. "My boss's wife, Cristina Gillespie, a bubbly mother of three, has developed a fatal form of leukaemia," the email read. "She is in a desperate situation as no compatible tissue type donor has been found. pandora charms retailers It is for this reason we appeal to you." Murray, 32, was initially impressed at the use of email for such a worthy cause. But then he was forced, for the first time, to think about the desperate need for bone marrow donors. The email came from Pandora Clifford, daughter of Timothy Clifford, the director of the National Galleries of Scotland. Her message explained how a simple blood test could give the hope of life to Cristina, 47, who was diagnosed with leukaemia last September. Pandora, 28, works as a personal assistant to Cristina's husband Simon, a leading art conservator. As she witnessed the family's distress over recent months, and the failure to find a bone marrow donor, she was determined to help. When Lord Irvine, a close friend of her father, heard of her plan to hold a tissue matching party, he immediately offered his private apartment for the event. It is being held on July 4, in conjunction with the Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Trust, the medical charity which holds the British tissue type register. "I originally planned to hire a committee room in the House of Lords, and Lord Irvine had kindly agreed to be my sponsor," says Pandora. "But as soon as I told pandora bracelet gift card him what I wanted the space for, he offered me the river room, with its stunning views, for the party, and an ante room for the blood testing." Cristina's immediate family have been tested but no match has been found. Even if the party fails to produce a suitable donor, all those who have their blood tested will be entered on to the register, and may be called on in the future. The original email urged recipients to forward the letter to everyone in their electronic address book. This seems to be paying off. "Simon has had messages from people as far away as Chile, Peru, Germany and Mexico," says Cristina, who is of mixed Mexican and European background, a factor that has made finding a suitable donor difficult. "It is very moving to know that there are all these people who want to help me." She is determined not to be beaten by her disease. Surrounded by photographs of the couple's three sons Oliver, 22, Alexander, 19, and 16 year old Harry she looks a picture of health: it's hard to imagine that she was recently hospitalised for 10 days with pandora beads on sale a critically high fever. But as she walks into the riverside garden of the family home in Putney, west London, a large bulge is visible above her waistband. "My distended spleen was the first symptom I had," she says. "We were on holiday in Majorca last August, when I felt something hard in my stomach. I'd been sleeping rather more than usual, and I had lost my appetite, but I assumed that it was just because I was relaxing and winding down." When Cristina consulted her doctor back in Britain, she was sent for tests and, two days later, was told she had chronic myeloid leukaemia, a rare form of the disease. A bone marrow transplant new pandora bracelet is the only cure: without it, the average patient will die within two to four years. Cristina says her "natural Mexican optimism" has allowed her to carry on as normal. "I feel fine, apart from getting terribly tired, so much so that my hands shake and I have to lie down. But I'm not the sort of person who dwells on things. I am certain that a donor will be found." But time may not be on Cristina's side. Doctors say that, for the best chance of success, a bone marrow donation should be carried out within the first year of the disease, before the leukaemia becomes too aggressive. Cristina is on a drugs trial at the moment, which is helping her condition, but medical staff are still trying to find the correct dose to give her. The Anthony Nolan trust, which has 313,000 registered donors in Britain, works with other databases worldwide to find tissue type matches. Cristina's family in Mexico City are planning a similar tissue matching event. While Cristina remains resolutely positive, those around her are frantic with worry. The trickle down effect of the chain email is turning into a cascade, as more people learn of her plight. But sympathy alone will not save Cristina Gillespie's life. A lot depends on people such as Richard Murray coming forward to have their blood tested.
"The average person feels squeamish about medical procedures," he says. "But this is a matter of life and death. How could anyone refuse?".
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