By Simon Yaffe
THE family of a Leeds woman diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia are on a desperate search to find a stem cell donor.
Hilary Levinson was given the news about the disease in September. Two rounds of chemotherapy initially cleared it — but it has returned.
Son Adam said: “Long-term, it is best that mum has a stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor.
“She originally went for a routine blood test as she has arthritis and her GP wouldn’t prescribe any more tablets until she had one.
“It was discovered she had low white blood cells and a biopsy showed that she had Acute Myeloid Leukaemia.”
Because of Mrs Levinson’s heritage, her best match is likely to be an Ashkenazi, between the ages of 16 to 30.
Her family is encouraging everyone eligible to join the Anthony Nolan stem cell register as a potential match.
“Mum urgently requires new stem cells from a stranger with a matching tissue type to rebuild her immune system and to fight infection and disease,” said Mr Levinson, who also lives in Leeds.
“We are hopeful that we find that one person who will save mum’s life. That person could be anyone, from any background. It could be the next person to join the Anthony Nolan register.’
Charity Anthony Nolan, which works in the areas of leukaemia and haematopoietic stem cell transplantation, will help publicise Mrs Levinson’s plight.
Hashtag #Hope4Hilary has been created in a bid to spread the word across social media.
The 62-year-old is a patient at Leeds’ St James’s University Hospital.
Mr Levinson explained: “Mum was so fit and healthy before her diagnoses and went to the gym four or five times a week.
“She has been amazing throughout the chemo, even though it was really intense.
“All the haematologists and nurses at the hospital said they have never seen anything like it.”
To add to the family’s pain, Mrs Levinson, who is married to Ronnie, has hardly spent any time with her 11-week-old grandson, Jacob — Mr Levinson and his wife Lauren’s first child.
“Mum was in hospital when Jacob was born and she has not seen him a lot,” the 37-year-old added. “Dad is finding it hard as we are just waiting on news in terms of how long it will take to find a match.”
The family is due to discuss Mrs Levinson’s condition today with the university’s stem cell transplant team.