A CANCER doctor has signed up 500 new bone marrow donors while desperately trying to find a match for his own leukaemia-stricken daughter.
Nadeem Siddiqui has spent his entire medical career helping thousands of cancer patients battle the illness and was devastated when his nine-year-old daughter was diagnosed with the disease two years ago.
Mr Siddiqui, a consultant oncologist at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, has searched all over the world to try to find a suitable bone marrow donor for Ayesha.
And while he is still waiting to find a match for his daughter, the efforts of Mr Siddiqui, 51, and his family have given an incredible boost to the register of donors.
At least 496 people have agreed to join the Anthony Nolan register as a direct result of the campaign to save Ayesha.
The charity has also received a massive financial boost after Ayesha’s family raised £180,000 for them.
Finding donor matches can be particularly difficult for people from ethnic minority backgrounds.
Ayesha, who is undergoing chemotherapy, needs a transplant from someone who is mixed race Caucasian and Middle Eastern or North African background.
Mr Siddiqui, from Newton Mearns, East Renfrewshire, said he was delighted that the register had been boosted.
He added: “Obviously I would like more but we are restricted by manpower, volunteers and time.
“We still get people who contact us, saying they want to help or donate money. Sometimes it’s a patient.”
Ayesha is continuing with chemotherapy, 28 months after her diagnosis, he said.
“She’s just started a new year at (Kirkhill Primary) school. I’m back at work, trying to juggle full time work with looking after Ayesha. It becomes hard when she’s in hospital.
“She’s still fighting and she’s full of tenacity and spirit. She doesn’t let these hurdles stop her from doing what she wants.”
Earlier this month Ayesha met boxer Amir Khan, who visited Glasgow’s Yorkhill hospital to hand out presents for Eid, the muslim festival marking the end of Ramadan.
Ann O’Leary, Anthony Nolan’s Head of Register Development, says, “Ayesha and her family are truly inspirational in their dedication to recruit more potential bone marrow donors and help Anthony Nolan save more lives.
“The response from the local community has been incredible and is reflected in the number of people signing up to the bone marrow register and the fundraising which will enable us to help more people with blood cancer.
“We especially need more people from ethnic minority backgrounds to join the register, and the campaign has helped us to reach more potential donors from these backgrounds.”