A Ghanaian woman based in the United Kingdom with a rare blood cancer is being denied a life-saving transplant from her brother who is in Ghana because he doesn’t earn enough, says a charity group.
The 33-year-old Shirley Kordie has hypoplastic MDS and will leave her 4-year-old son, Blessing, without a mother if she is not treated.
It was learnt that her brother Joseph, who resides in Ghana, is a “perfect” stem cell match but his visa application was denied by the Home Office in UK due to his “financial circumstances”.
At the moment, she is entirely reliant on blood transfusions to reduce her life-threatening anaemia and her reduced white blood cells put her at high risk of infection.
“My life is in danger – I need to get my life back for my son. I have my little boy, and I want to live for him,” the BBC reported Ms Kordie as saying.
The Home Office also said it was “urgently reviewing” the case.
In a previous letter to Shirley, the Home Office said:
“While I am aware of the importance of family contact and the compassionate nature of your application, I must, however, also consider your personal and financial circumstances in Ghana when addressing your application.”
But in a statement released on Thursday, a spokesman said:
“We are urgently reviewing the decision and will give very careful consideration to the compassionate circumstances.”
In the wake of the development, Blood cancer charities Anthony Nolan and the ACLT (African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust) have launched a campaign to support Ms Kordie, who has been receiving treatment at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
The Anthony Nolan Trust said the reason Joseph has been refused a visa is because “he doesn’t earn enough money”.
It was gathered that a petition urging the government to reverse its decision has amassed about 10,000 signatures in 36 hours.
Joseph, a nurse himself, is unable to make the donation in Ghana, so coming to the UK is his only option, said the Anthony Nolan Trust.
The spokeswoman Amelia Chong said there were no alternative options for a donor on the international stem cell register.
“Her brother is a perfect, 10 out of 10 match for her,” she said.
“We have reviewed all those on the donor list and he is not only the perfect match, he is the only match.” “Put simply, Shirley will die without this stem cell transplant.”
Henny Braund, Chief Executive of Anthony Nolan says:
“Shirley’s best chance of recovery so she can care for her young son, Blessing, is a stem cell transplant and I am deeply concerned her brother Joseph, who is a perfect match, has been denied a visa. The Home Office has made concessions for similar cases in the past and I urge the Minister to reconsider.
“Each passing day leaves Shirley increasingly anxious, and at increased risk of infection. His sister is in need and Joseph is ready – this situation needs to be urgently resolved so Shirley can have the treatment she so desperately needs.”