Donor news breaks at Confessor's shrine

10 July 2015

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Lit a candle: Sue Lloyd-Roberts at a One Billion Rising event last year

Lit a candle: Sue Lloyd-Roberts at a One Billion Rising event last year

THE journalist Sue Lloyd-Roberts has spoken of receiving news of a stem-cell donor seconds after lighting a candle in Westminster Abbey.

Ms Lloyd-Roberts is being treated for acute myeloid leukaemia and is dependent on a transplant to survive.

On Sunday, she wrote on her blog that, while filming for Newsnight at Westminster Abbey last week, she found herself “desperate enough to try anything”. She touched the tomb of St Edward the Confessor and lit a candle. “‘Ping’ went my phone — a message from the hospital that I had a donor.”

After revealing the interventions of her friends — Roman Catholics reciting novenas, Muslims praying during Ramadan, Buddhists chanting and lighting incense sticks — she joked that “Henry VIII and Archbishop Cranmer are vindicated. The Anglicans have it!”

She had, she confessed, “sort of forgotten the denomination into which I was baptised”.

Speaking on Radio 4 this week, she confirmed that the transplant would take place in three weeks’ time, followed by a long period of recovery and return to work next year.

Her donor was found by the Anthony Nolan charity, which searched registers worldwide. A donor-recruitment event was held at the BBC’s New Broadcasting House in June, where 162 people joined the charity’s register and hundreds more signed up online.

“The message hasn’t got across in the past about how simple this whole process is,” Ms Lloyd-Roberts said. Donating would take “five days out of your life, but you are saving a life and I hope the message gets out that it’s got to be worth it.”

She may have the opportunity to meet her donor in two years’ time: “I want to give him or her a big hug and thank them for saving my life.”

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