Leicester community urged to step forward to help Inspector Rik Basra
COLLEAGUES of a police inspector who needs a bone marrow transplant to save his life are supporting an event to encourage more people to join the donor register.
Leicestershire officer, Inspector Rik Basra is currently undergoing extensive treatment for acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and requires a blood stem cell (bone marrow) transplant to save his life, but this must come from a matching donor.
The best match donor for Rik is likely to be an Asian person, but on both the national and international donor register, there is a substantial shortage of Asian people.
An event held during the Diwali celebrations attracted more than 140 people who provided a saliva sample and registered with the charity Anthony Nolan.
Now a further donor event is being organised by the Guru Tegh Bahadur Gurdwara on East Park Road in a bid to help Rik and other sufferers of blood cancer.
Rik’s wife, Kas Basra, urged the local community to step forward.
She said: “There is a real shortage of donors particularly from the Asian community. There are a lot of myths regarding the process but I can assure you it is quick and painless and will not take very long. Please take a little time out of your day to register.
“It is an uncomfortable truth but this dreadful disease can strike anyone. Anyone registering as a donor is very much making an investment in our collective futures”
Surinderpal Singh Rai of the Guru Tegh Bahadur Gurdwara (GTB), said:
”The Sikh community in Leicester and Leicestershire are working in collaboration with the Leicestershire police and Anthony Nolan on the Rik Basra campaign. We are raising awareness of the need for the Asian community to come forward as blood stem cell donors. This will hopefully help Rik and others throughout the UK to have a fighting chance to get a match.”
Chief Constable Simon Cole, said: “As many people will be aware, together with Rik’s family and the charity Anthony Nolan, we launched the campaign back in October to help find a bone marrow donor for Rik.
“Rik is a valued officer and colleague, and I know he has been overwhelmed by the extraordinary response and support given to him by his colleagues, friends, family and members of the public during his ongoing treatment. However, I am also aware of the anguish that his wife and family are going through at the moment while attempts are made to find a suitable donor to save his life.
“We are pleased to be able to support this further event and I would urge people between 18 and 40 to go along to register as a donor. The process is painless, simple and you could save a life.”
Members of the public are encouraged to attend the event at the Guru Tegh Bahadur Gurdwara (GTB) between 11am and 5pm on Sunday December 11, to give their support to the campaign and find out more about joining the register. Trained volunteers will be on hand to answer questions and assist in registration. They will ask for some medical information and a small saliva sample, which will be sent away for tissue typing to see if they match Rik. Anyone found to be a match for Rik, or one of the 1,600 people in the UK who need a transplant, would at a later date then be asked to donate their blood stem cells.
Donors can also register online at www.anthonynolan.org/register – once Anthony Nolan has checked you’re eligible, a saliva kit will be posted to your home.