Sheffield United fan’s family in desperate plea for life-saving donors

The family of a young Sheffield United fan battling blood cancer have issued a desperate plea for potentially life-saving donors.

By The Star Newsroom
Saturday, 20 April, 2019, 15:29

Haris Hussain was diagnosed just last month with leukaemia, and the Blades mad 18-year-old from Chapeltown is seeking a blood stem cell donor to give him a ‘second chance at life’.

His family will be at Bramall Lane next Saturday, April 27, as part of their search for donors ready to give the gift of life to Haris and the estimated 2,000 other people across the UK currently in need of a blood stem cell transplant.

Haris Hussain

They are teaming up with volunteers from the charity DKMS to ask supporters and staff at the stadium to spare just a few minutes to see if they could become lifesavers.

Haris’ mum Caroline said: “Haris is our life and we’re determined to find a donor to give him the second chance at life he deserves, so he can continue pursuing his hopes and dreams.

“There are so many people out there like Haris who are desperately in need of a donor and we will do everything we can to raise awareness.

“We’re so grateful to Sheffield United for hosting this event at such short notice.”

Haris is a talented cricketer, who has represented Yorkshire at under-19 level and plays for Wath Cricket Club's first team.

His mum said he had appeared perfectly fit and healthy until early March when he developed what they initially thought was a virus.

When his condition failed to improve, he visited his GP, who referred him to hospital, where he receiving the devastating news that he had acute myeloid leukaemia with dysplastic changes.

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Caroline said it was rare for someone so young to develop this form of cancer, which usually afflicts people in their 50s or above, and she told how being of mixed race reduced his chances of finding a suitable donor.

Haris, who is studying sport at Barnsley College and is an ice hockey linesman in the second tier of the national league, is currently in hospital undergoing chemotherapy.

Haris’ friends and family will be in the Family Zone and Platinum Suite at Bramall Lane on Saturday from 3pm-5pm, looking to sign up potential donors ahead of the Blades’ crucial clash with Ipswich Town.

“All it takes is a few minutes of your time and some cheek swabs and you really could be saving Haris’ life or giving someone like him a second chance, and making that person’s family complete again,” said Caroline.

Anyone aged 17-55, who has been resident in the UK for the past two years and is in generally good health is eligible to become a blood stem cell donor.

It takes just a few minutes to check your eligibility, have three cheek swabs done and sign a consent form, all of which you will be able to do at Bramall Lane next weekend.

Two in three people with blood cancer in the UK don't find a matching blood stem cell donor in their family, according to DKMS, meaning they must rely on an unrelated donor with a similar enough set of genetic characteristics.

For more information about registering as a potential donor, visit www.dkms.org.uk.