About Gabrielle

Gabrielle Steele, 13, was diagnosed in October (last month) with the rare condition - Aplastic Anaemia, which is potentially life threatening and affects only 200 people a year.


But Gabby faces a long battle because of a lack of ethnic minority bone marrow donors. Gabrielle is mixed race, mother is white British and her father is of African Caribbean descent.


Due to her diagnosis she has been cut off from her friends and teachers in a bid to protect her immune system. Gabby, who is currently home-schooled, pleaded: "Please help so I can get back to school. I just want my life to be what it was before and the only way for that to happen is if the black, mixed race community helps my appeal for help by registering as donors. I just want to be a normal girl again"

The disease causes her immune system to attack the stem cells in the bone marrow.


Her mum, Sharon Marriage, 48, said they thought she had glandular fever at first after tiny bruises appeared all over her body. "She had a blood test at the doctors and within a few hours we were told to get her to Scarborough Hospital quickly," Mrs Marriage explained

"She was immediately transferred to the Leeds General Infirmary. Her blood was not clotting; she had lots of pin prick bruises and bleeding gums"


Talking about her daughter's love of Driffield School, mum added: "She loves her school, she really does. She's had over a year at secondary school and loves the staff, her friends and all the extra activities".


Talking about the diagnosis, she added: "It takes a while to sink in because most adults would struggle with the complete lifestyle change. She's not allowed to do fencing but she just says; ‘Well, I'll have to find something else to do!'’.


Sending a message to the black and mixed race community, Gabby urged:


"Please don't come forward just to be a match for me, please come forward as you could be a match for anyone of your ethnicity on the list who is waiting for a life saving matching donor"


People can register from age 16 to 55 years to be a donor and you stay on the register until your 61st birthday as long as you are in good health.


We are especially appealing for black, mixed race people and those from ethnic minorities to become donors, because there is such a shortage of potential donors.


Beverley De-Gale, co-founder ACLT has said: "There are a lot of black, mixed race and Asian people out there who desperately need help and they can't get a match from anyone else but within their own communities. "It's something we've all got to consider, because we're the only ones who can help each other."


There's such a shortage of ethnic minority donors that less than 1.5 per cent of blood and organ donors are Black or Asian.

GABRIELLE STEELE 13, HAS APLASTIC ANAEMIA WHICH WEAKENS HER IMMUNE SYSTEM AND DESTROYS HER STEM CELLS. BUT GABBY FACES A LONG BATTLE BECAUSE OF A LACK OF ETHNIC MINORITY BONE MARROW DONORS.


By BeTheHero in association with African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ALCT) & Delete Blood Cancer (DKMS) - 8 Dec 2013

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AFRICAN-CARIBBEAN LEUKAEMIA TRUST

BeTheHero campaign is working with ACLT and Delete Blood Cancer UK to help increase the number of potential bone marrow donors on UK registers. BeTheHero organizes fundraising events. It costs £40 to test one potential donor.


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