“Joey-effect” leads to massive increase in bone marrow donors from Northampton

Joey Zaidi
Joey Zaidi

A campaign to find a bone marrow donor for a nine-month-old boy from Northampton has resulted in a huge increase in the number of people from the town registering their details with the Anthony Nolan charity.

Joey Ziadi, of Northampton, was diagnosed in February with Diamond-Blackfan anaemia (DBA), a blood condition that affects only 800 people in the world.

DBA patients fail to produce red blood cells properly and Joey’s parents Kaisha Morris, aged 35, and Andrew Ziadi, aged 34, have been told that he will need a bone marrow transplant to cure him of the disease.

A spokesman for Anthony Nolan said, as a result of the media exposure of Joey’s plight, the Anthony Nolan website has experienced a huge spike in visitors and registrations from the Northampton area.

The spokesman said the ‘Joey effect’ is evident as Anthony Nolan experienced a huge increase in donor applications, with 73 people from Northampton signing up to be donors in the past two weeks. In the same period last year, only seven people from the town agreed to be donors.

A total of 1,496 people from Northampton have also logged on to the Anthony Nolan website, compared to 99 last year.

Kaisha Morris, Joey’s mother, said the response had been “overwhelming.”

The family, with the help of Anthony Nolan, are hosting a donor recruitment event on Sunday, June 8 at the Race for Life event in Abington Park. They are calling on people aged 16 to 30 to attend and sign up to the register.

Ms Morris said: “We need to get as many people to come down and sign up. Any one of them could help to save a life for Joey or someone like him.”

Sarah Roulstone, Regional Register Development Manager at Anthony Nolan, says, “It’s amazing to see what a difference one boy’s story can make. Joey has touched the hearts of thousands of people in Northampton and we’re seeing the Joey effect in terms of people joining the register - but we still urgently need more people to come forward, especially young men as they are the most likely to be chosen to donate but are under-represented on the register.

What many people don’t realise is how easy it is to join the bone marrow register – it simply involves filling in a form and providing a saliva sample.”

People aged 16-30 can also join the register online at www.anthonynolan.org