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Monday, 17 October 2016

UK bars Nigerian woman from going to London to save her sick sister [Photos]

A young mother has launched an appeal to the Home Office/UK Visa & Immigration to allow for her sister to visit the UK from Nigeria for a lifesaving stem cell (bone marrow) transplant.

May Brown, who is married to a British ex soldier, whom she has a two year old daughter with named Selina May, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia last year.

After receiving four cycles of chemotherapy, May went into remission. However, sadly, nine months later the cancer returned, this time more aggressively.

Consultants have confirmed May’s only chance of survival is to receive a stem cell transplant from a donor with a matching tissue type as hers.  May’s sister Martha who resides in Nigeria with her two children has been identified as a 10 out of 10 match for her sister, change.org said.

Martha, who is a school teacher in Nigeria has been refused a visa to enter the UK as she did not meet economic requirements; her monthly earnings of 65,000 Naira (£222) per month suggest she doesn’t have sufficient funds available to cover her travel costs. This is despite her sister May, agreeing to sponsor her trip to the UK, covering her return flights, accommodation and any living expenses during her short stay.

May, 23, who lives in Dorset with her husband Mike and their two year old daughter is scheduled to start a second round of chemotherapy at King’s College Hospital, London, has been told that “they are running out of time” if they are to start chemotherapy treatment and carry out the transplant post getting her into remission.

The medical tests show May’s sister Martha is a perfect match and has the ability to save her sister’s life by donating her stem cells, and her donation is the only real hope of May receiving the stem cells in time.

Despite letters from hospital consultants confirming Martha’s status as the only available matching donor for the urgent stem cell transplant, she was refused a visa  earlier this month.  Additional paperwork submitted included confirmation that Martha’s trip was to be funded entirely by her sister, May.

The letter from UK Visas & Immigration state “I am not satisfied that you are a genuine visitor and will leave the UK at the end of your visit or that you have sufficient funds available to cover your costs whilst in the UK without working or accessing public funds.”

May, who has been in hospital for the last three months said: “My sister Martha has two children  in Nigeria who will be looked after by our Grandmother during her visit to the UK.  She has no desire to re-locate here. She is only visiting to help save my life, the life of her sister.”

“I was elated when I received the news Martha was a 10 out of 10 match. But when I received notification her visa was rejected I felt distraught and helpless.  My two year old daughter Selina needs me. She needs me to be back home with her, looking after her.  To know my life isn’t important to those who have the power to help me is deeply upsetting.”

“My life can be saved if my sister is granted to enter the UK to donate her stem cells. This is a six hour journey which will help save my life. I am begging for the UK Home Office to review their decision and grant my sister admission to the UK.”

To help make her voice heard, African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT), a blood cancer charity which has been supporting May since her relapse earlier this year set up a petition to the concerned authority.  We work hard to raise awareness on the lack of stem cell, blood and organ donors on the donor registers; in addition to registering potential donors.

So far, 16,894 persons have signed the petition which requires 20,000 people to sign to make it effective so that the decision by UK Visa and Immigration can be overturned.

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