Grateful parents look to next donor session

A dozen people became potential lifesavers as they signed up to be bone marrow donors in memory of Josie Grove.

Jacqui Grove at a recruiting session for bone marrow donors

A dozen people became potential lifesavers as they signed up to be bone marrow donors in memory of Josie Grove.

The 16-year-old died at home in Corbridge, Northumberland, last February after a two-year battle with leukaemia.

The kindhearted donors signed up at a special clinic in Josie's home village yesterday and could save the lives of others with leukaemia.

But Josie's mum, who was at the clinic between 4pm and 7pm, was disappointed at the numbers.

"We were expecting about 100 people when we first went in. It was a shame really but I'm hoping that people who perhaps couldn't make it or only heard about it at the last minute will be able to go to the next clinic in Hexham.

"Everyone who came along could potentially be saving someone's life. I am just so grateful to the people who did come."

During her illness, Josie raised more than £20,000 for people with the illness and worked to increase awareness of the bone marrow register.

Now generous Journal readers have contributed more than £27,000 to the Josie Grove Leukaemia Fund.

Her parents Cliff and Jacqui Grove, both jewellery designers, of Princes Street, are continuing her remarkable legacy.

They have given £10,000 from that fund to the Anthony Nolan Trust, which organises bone marrow clinics, to pay for 143 people to register as donors.

Their donation has funded three clinics, the first held at the Theatre Royal in Newcastle on May 19, when seven people were recruited. Yesterday's in Corbridge Parish Hall was the second.

The trust's donor recruitment manager Nigel Gorvett said: "Considering the coverage in the Press, it was a surprisingly poor outcome. We are a little bit frustrated as we were hoping for more people, which was easily achievable with it being Josie's home town and a close-knit community.

"But the drive to recruit continues. Any of those 12 people could be a match for someone." The next clinic is planned for Hexham at a date and venue to be fixed.

Josie, who attended Queen Elizabeth High School in Hexham, had two bone marrow transplants, one from her baby brother Charlie.

Though neither succeeded, her parents believe they gave them precious extra years together.


Your chance to help

The next clinic is planned for Hexham.

There are more than 7,000 people in the UK who need a bone marrow transplant.

Bone marrow transplants are necessary when the bone marrow becomes diseased or damaged so that it can't function normally.

Sometimes the damage to the bone marrow is a result of treatment for leukaemia or a related cancer of the blood.

In order to destroy all the leukaemia cells it may be necessary to use treatment so strong that it completely destroys the bone marrow, in which case a bone-marrow or stem cell transplant must be given to restore blood cell production.

Without the stem cells to produce blood the patient will not survive.

Sometimes an appropriate donor can be found within the patient's immediate family.

However, only 30% of donors are found this way, and this is when we really need people like you who are prepared to help save a life.

Anyone aged 18 to 40 can register and those at the Hexham clinic will simply be asked to give a tiny blood sample.

It takes five minutes to fill out a short questionnaire which checks your relevant personal and medical history.

It then takes about six weeks to hear if you are eligible to be added to the list of donors.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer