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Whitstable family make plea for bone marrow donor

By Eleanor Perkins

The son of a man who needs a bone marrow transplant has made a desperate plea for people to join a donor register to help find the perfect match.

Yevi Ilangakoon, from Whitstable, was diagnosed with myelofibrosis - a serious bone marrow disorder which disrupts the body’s normal production of blood cells - in 2009.

It affects about one in every 100,000 people and can progress into leukaemia.

Yevi Ilangakoon with son Yovaan
Yevi Ilangakoon with son Yovaan

Originally from Sri Lanka, Mr Ilangakoon currently manages by using medication but his only cure would be a bone marrow transplant using stem cells.

But since medical professionals have been unable to find a 100% match, his family have launched an appeal encouraging people to sign up as donors online - particularly those in the South Asian community.

His son Yovaan Ilangakoon said: “My dad’s condition has deteriorated significantly and it now has the potential to turn into leukaemia. His life expectancy is now limited.

“His only hope is to have a bone marrow transplant using stem cells. The medical team has searched the worldwide registers but has not been able to find a 100% match as yet.

"This is mainly due to the South Asian community being under represented on the bone marrow registers.

“I am trying to get as many people on the bone marrow register, particularly those from South Asian origin in order to find a match for him and hundreds of others in similar situations.”

Mr Ilangakoon says signing up online is simple and takes less than two minutes. People will then be sent a kit via the post.

He added: “All you have to do is swab the inside of your cheek with the cotton bud they send you and send it back to them in the pre-paid envelope. It’s that simple.

“If you ever become a match for a person who needs a stem cell transplant, donating your stem cells is as simple as donating blood.

“We are relying on our faith in Jesus and are confident that soon he will find a match and have a successful transplant and be healed completely.

“God has always been faithful to our family.”

If you are above 30 years and living in the UK, register here. If you are below 30, register here.

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