London siblings' bone marrow Twitter plea boosts Jewish donors

Sharon Berger needs a bone marrow transplant within five weeks

Related Stories

A brother and sister's search for a bone marrow match for their mother has led to a jump in the number of Jewish people joining the Anthony Nolan Trust.

Jonni, 34, and Caroline Berger, 31, appealed on Twitter - #spit4mum - after Sharon Berger was told she needed an urgent bone marrow transplant in weeks.

Mrs Berger, 61, of Harrow, north-west London, has myelodysplastic syndrome.

Finding a donor is proving difficult because her best match is likely to be another Ashkenazi Jew.

The Anthony Nolan Trust said 180 Jewish people signed up in the first two weeks of 2013, up from 31 in January 2012.

Up to 35,000 people registered as donors with the charity last year.

Mrs Berger was diagnosed with the blood disorder in 2006 and over Christmas her family was told she needed a bone marrow transplant within six weeks to survive.

'Massive shock'

Start Quote

Finding a match for our mum would be like winning the lottery”

End Quote Jonni Berger Sharon Berger's son

Her children needed to get the message across quickly and urge people to join the register by providing a saliva sample.

Caroline Berger, who works with Oxfam, said: "It was a massive shock but in some ways you don't have time to be sad because we have only five weeks to find the person who could save her life."

Jonni Berger, 34, a tax consultant from Finchley, said they targeted both Twitter and Facebook.

"Given the age limit for registrants to the Anthony Nolan register is 16-30 we decided that Twitter was the best way to get to people and started a campaign requesting re-tweets using the same hashtag from celebrities and prominent members of the public," he said.

"Finding a match for our mum would be like winning the lottery and although at times it feels like the chances of finding a match are lower, we feel there must be someone out there who might be that match."

Lynsey Dickson, regional recruitment manager for the trust, said: "If someone needs a bone marrow transplant, it is often their last chance of survival.

"We know that the best possible match is likely to be someone from a similar background so we're urging all Jewish people aged 16-30 to come forward and join the register."

The age limit to register with the Anthony Nolan Trust is 30, but people aged between 18 and 49 can sign up to the British Bone Marrow Registry.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC London



Min. Night 7 °C

Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Audi R8Best in show

    BBC Autos takes a look at 10 of the most eye-catching new cars at the 2015 Geneva motor show


  • A robotClick Watch

    The latest in robotics including software that can design electronics to solve problems

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.