THE family of former Ellenbrook resident Danny Orchard are taking part in the HBF Run for a Reason on Sunday, May 27.
Mr Orchard was 48 when he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
His sister Louisa Orchard said after some different chemotherapy treatments the option of a bone marrow transplant was explored.
She was tested to see if she would be a match but wasn’t so they tried the Bone Marrow Register.
“Unfortunately, the Bone Marrow Register did not have a match for Danny and he opted to receive his own bone marrow in 2014,’’ she said.
She said statistics showed about 30 per cent of patients found a match within their family – the chance of a single sibling being matched is 25 per cent.
“If no match is found within the family, one of a similar ethnic background is sought.
“In Australia, and worldwide, donors with non-European and mixed ethnic backgrounds are under-represented, making it almost impossible to find a match for those with mixed ethnic backgrounds.
“In 2017, Danny received the news that his cancer had returned, and after intensive chemotherapy, was told there were no other options available to him.
“Danny lost his battle on December 25, 2017 leaving behind his wife of 33 years, five children and one grandchild.’’
“They will be all be walking in memory of Danny.’’
Ms Orchard said it was her idea to take part in Run for a Reason.
“I was struggling to come to terms with my brother’s passing and frustrated at him not having the option of bone marrow donation, and the HBF Run for a Reason started advertising.
“I looked into the statistics of mixed race donors and was astounded, not only, by the lack of registered donors, but also the lack of information regarding bone marrow donor registration.
“Along with raising money for research, our primary goal was making people aware of the option to become a bone marrow donor.’’
It was important to raise awareness about bone marrow registration and donation because it saved lives.
She said knowing a bone marrow transplant could be someone’s last chance and a donor could be out there somewhere was an unbearable thought for anyone whose loved one was waiting for a transplant.
The family originally set a goal of raising $1000 for the Leukaemia Foundation but people have so far pledged almost $6000.
She said the loss of her brother was felt across many communities with his tennis club friends, his workmates and his family all deeply saddened by his death.
“I’m sure if any of us could have donated anything that he needed to survive we would have.
“People just need to be made aware that there is a choice and you may not be able to save someone you love but you could save someone who is loved.’’
Go to the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry website at https://www.abmdr.org.au/ and the Red Cross website http://www.donateblood.com.au/learn/bone-marrow-donation
• Danny Orchard was a production team member at Echo News.
By Anita McInnes