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Editor launches life-saving appeal for stricken wife

An editor made an emotional front page appeal to readers to “Help me save my wife” as the title launched a life-saving campaign to find her a bone marrow donor.

Stephen Sinfield, editor of the Ashbourne News Telegraph and also a Burton Mail journalist, revealed to readers that his wife Katherine was battling leukaemia as both titles launched their Take Five Minutes campaigns.

Katherine was diagnosed with leukaemia earlier this year and has been told her only hope of survival is to have a bone marrow transplant.

The campaign calls on readers to research blood and bone marrow donation and find out if they could be a potential bone marrow match for her by either giving a saliva sample to the Anthony Nolan Trust or a blood sample to the NHS British Bone Marrow Registry.

The News Telegraph’s front page story has made headlines across the country, with Stephen’s appeal being covered in a number of national and regional newspapers.

Stephen, who is currently on leave caring for his wife, said: “The story going national can only have helped Katherine’s appeal. It was the quirky angle of an editor using his front page for a personal appeal which clearly gripped the interest of the national press.

“We decided that going national can only help bolster the appeal, and so we agreed but at the same time wanted to ensure that Katherine was not highlighted as a unique case.

“There are hundreds if not thousands of people across the country undergoing a similar torment at the hands of this truly destructive condition.

Added Stephen: “The only difference between Katherine and all of these other people in need is that we have made our fight public for the benefit of everyone because of my position in the media.

“As an editor, I cannot expect my readers to reveal personal and sensitive stories if I am not willing to share one myself.”

The couple hope the campaign will also benefit others in similar situations to Katherine by encouraging people to sign up to the British Bone Marrow Registry.

Staff at both newspapers have supported the appeal by donating blood and signing up to the register.

Katherine and Stephen have been married nearly five years and Katherine, 32, was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia in April.

She has undergone an initial course of chemotherapy and will need a bone marrow transplant after having further chemotherapy.

Katherine told the Burton Mail: “Over the years I have got used to picking up the paper and seeing Stephen’s picture byline beside his stories – picking up the paper and seeing myself everyday takes a little getting used to.

“The Burton Mail campaign will clearly help to raise awareness of both the importance of signing up to the bone marrow register but also the importance of giving blood.

“It is easy to think that these pints of blood people donate are just used in A&E when someone gets rushed in after an accident, but the reality is, that they are used every day.

“During my 20 days in hospital I must have had close to a dozen bags of blood and platelets and so those people giving blood have helped with mine and other peoples’ care just as much as those on the bone marrow register.

“Every person who signs up to the bone marrow register is helping to save a life. This campaign does not just benefit me, it benefits everybody in every hospital who find themselves in a similar situation to my own.”

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