The wife of a weekly newspaper editor is set to undergo a life-saving operation after a sister paper helped find a matching donor.
The Burton Mail started its Take Five Minutes campaign in July in a bid to find a bone marrow transplant for Katherine Sinfield, whose husband Stephen Sinfield is editor of the Ashbourne News Telegraph and also a Burton Mail journalist.
Katherine was diagnosed with leukaemia in April and the 33-year-old reception school teacher was told her only hope of survival was to have a bone marrow transplant.
After several months of campaigning for Katherine and others in her position, the Mail has revealed that a matching donor has been found.
Said Stephen: “I was really frightened that she would come out of the chemotherapy sessions without a donor and so all of the treatment would be fruitless.
“We would both like to thank every new donor who came forward because of Katherine’s very public fight with leukaemia and the Mail’s ‘Take Five Minutes’ campaign.”
Added Katherine: “Your world is turned upside down when you discover you have leukaemia, but finally, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
“Being told you have a donor match is a huge sense of relief as it signals a major turning point.
“Before, when I was in hospital, the days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months and I never had sight of the finishing line. The goal posts kept moving by the day whereas now, I know exactly what is happening and when, and I know what we are aiming towards.”
Katherine is writing a daily blog on the Mail’s website updating readers on her condition, while the National Blood Service Donor scheme and the Anthony Nolan Trust reported a 15pc increase in the number of potential donors coming forward in August.
In a remarkable twist of fate, the date Katherine estimates will be her ‘day zero’ or transplant day – 29 October – falls on her late mother’s birthday. It also falls a day after the second anniversary of the death of her husband Stephen’s sister.
“Somebody who I have never met, nor will I probably ever meet, has done the remarkable thing of signing up to the bone marrow register to give me the gift of life. Without this person coming forward, my future looked bleak,” she added.
“Your transplant date is your second birthday as you are being given a new lease of life. It is so special that my transplant date could potentially fall on my mum’s birthday as we will be able to share a birthday together.”
Despite her good news, Katherine is adamant the donor campaign needs to continue.
“I have said from the outset that this wasn’t a campaign to help me. This was a campaign to help every one of those 30,000 people each year who are told they have leukaemia,” she said.
“I’m only different because I chose to make my fight very public for the benefit of everyone.”
For more information on how to become a bone marrow donor call the National Blood Service donor helpline on 0300 123 2323.