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Jaso defies odds, finds ‘gold dust’ donor

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Jaso Manokaran with his wife Jasmine and daughter Shreejah

The family of Jaso Manokaran, who launched a campaign for more Sri Lankans to sign up to the Anthony Nolan, are completely over the moon, after receiving the news that a match has been found for him.

Jaso Manokaran with his wife Jasmine and daughter Shreejah
Jaso Manokaran with his wife Jasmine and daughter Shreejah

The 29 year old father of two from Harrow, described potential donors as being like ‘gold dust’ after a shock cancer diagnosis left him relying upon a bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor.

Jaso was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in December, after being rushed to a local hospital due to constant pain and fever-like symptoms.

Since Jaso is a Sri Lankan Tamil, he faced an uphill battle to find a match on the Anthony Nolan register, due to the lack of donors from a similar background. His wife Jasmini, who signed up to the register herself, kick-started the ‘Help Save Jaso’ campaign to recruit more Sri Lankan donors to the register.

Currently, only 60% of transplant recipients receive the best possible match, and this drops dramatically to 20.5% if, the patient is from a black, Asian or ethnic minority background.

Jasmini says, ‘When the consultant told us they had a match for Jaso it was just amazing news. We were so happy, completely over the moon. The consultant told us how rare it is to find a match for a Sri Lankan so Jaso feels like the luckiest man that’s ever lived.’

‘Words cannot describe how thankful we are to the donor who is giving Jaso a second chance at life. I just want to thank them for their lifesaving help.’

No date has been set for the transplant yet but Jaso is now in good spirits.

Jasmini explained: ‘Now a donor has been found he is very happy; he is doing much better both mentally and physically since he heard the news.’

As Jaso defied the odds to find a match, Jasmini is now more determined than ever to campaign for more Sri Lankans to sign up to the register.

‘I want to say thank you so much to everyone who has signed up so far.  I am calling on my fellow Sri Lankans to keep signing up to the register and keep helping people like Jaso as there is still a shortage of potential donors.’

Lynsey Dickson, Regional Recruitment Manager for Anthony Nolan says, ‘It’s brilliant news that a match has been found for Jaso. The ‘Help Save Jaso’ campaign has inspired so many Sri Lankans and South Asians to sign up to the register. Despite going through so much themselves, the family have worked tirelessly to raise awareness, helping to bust the myths surrounding bone marrow donation.’

‘We are joining Jasmini to call for more Sri Lankans and South Asians to join the register to help save more people like Jaso. 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.’