Leicestershire Police plea for Asian bone marrow

Leicestershire Police are appealing for Asian bone marrow donors to help save the life of one of their officers.

Insp Rik Basra, who was diagnosed two years ago with acute myeloid leukaemia, needs a bone marrow transplant.

Chief Constable Simon Cole said the campaign was "very important" to the force to help a colleague "fully recover".

The event, at Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre, is being held during Leicester's Diwali day celebrations.

The best match for Mr Basra is likely to be an Asian male aged between 18 and 30, but there is a substantial shortage of Asian bone marrow donors on both the national and international registers.

The force is working with the family and the charity, The Anthony Nolan Trust, to increase the number of Asian donors.

'Scary stories'

Chief Constable Simon Cole said: "We are encouraging young Asian male donors to come forward, but we would certainly not discourage anyone aged between 18 and 40 from registering as a donor, regardless of their ethnicity or gender."

Mr Basra's wife, Kas, said he had been undergoing extensive treatment for the cancer since he was diagnosed, but the disease had returned.

"This time he will need a transplant," she said. "It's a straightforward process, but first we have to find a suitable donor.

"We discovered that the biggest problem is the lack of Asian donors. On the the Anthony Nolan register there are only 4% of Asians registered."

Jenner Large, from the charity, said the "challenge increases" for a patient from an ethnic background because there are fewer people on the register from these groups.

Mrs Basra said: "We were very surprised, considering how many Asians live in this country, we shouldn't have to go abroad to find a match.

"I don't think it's because people don't want to donate, but it's the lack of awareness and people think it's onerous for them - they've heard scary stories about the process."

Volunteers would be asked to provide a small sample of saliva and fill out a health questionnaire between 18:00 BST and 21:00 BST at the centre in Belgrave.

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