‘Joey effect’ sees marrow donor applications soar after Northampton family’s appeal

The family of Joey Ziadi are appealing for bone marow donors to sign up to Anthony Nolan
The family of Joey Ziadi are appealing for bone marow donors to sign up to Anthony Nolan

A blood cancer charity says bone marrow donor applications have soared by more than 1,000 per cent since an appeal was launched by a Northampton family.

The parents of nine-month-old Joey Ziadi launched a plea for people to join the Anthony Nolan register after their son was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder - Diamond Blackfan Anaemia.

The condition only affects 800 in the world and his only hope of a cure is by having a bone marrow transplant.

The family launched their appeal after discovering that Joey’s four-year-old sister Isabella is not a match.

Anthony Nolan says its website saw a surge in visitors and registrations from the Northampton area as a result.

It saw a 943 per cent increase in donor applications and a 1,411 per cent increase in webpage views from Northampton, compared with the same time last year.

Joey’s mother Kaisha Morris said: “The response has just been overwhelming. It means so much to us to know that so many people are behind us and we aren’t alone.”

Joey’s plight was first reported in the Chronicle and Echo in May when the family appealed for a specially-adapted pushchair to be returned after it had been stolen.

Sarah Roulstone, regional register development manager at Anthony Nolan, said: “It’s amazing to see what a difference one boy’s story can make.

“Joey has touched the hearts 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.”

Joey’s family will host a donor recruitment event at Race for Life in Abington Park on Sunday.

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