In 2004 Sarah Thompson (at that time Sarah Murray) the then fiancée of the founder
of The Cultural Chameleon Press Mark 'Mr T' Thompson was diagnosed with Acute
Myeloid Leukaemia. Although initially the illness responded well to chemotherapy
when in 2005 she relapsed Sarah, was told she would have to have a bone marrow
An extract from ‘Mixed Messages’
“Sarah's family decided to join forces with the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust
(ACLT), a charity set up by Beverley De-Gale and Orin Lewis to campaign to raise
awareness about the lack of ethnic minority donors on the bone marrow donor register.
Unfortunately registration amongst the black, mixed-race and ethnic minority communities
is significantly lower than amongst the white community.The age range to register new donors
is 18 to 49, although you can still donate bone marrow once registered until the age of 60.
In the case of ethnic minorities, the chances of finding an appropriate match drop from 1 in 5
if you have only a Northern European heritage, to 1 in 100,000 if you are from ANY of the ethnic minorities. Although it is unclear, being mixed race may make the odds even worse.
Alongside the ACLT, Sarah and I, supported by our amazing families launched a media campaign, built around a website (www.like2like.com) set up Sarah’s sister Laura.
Sarah had her transplant in November of 2006 and it was a phenomenal success.
Sarah’s donor was a young British woman, also of mixed descent, a regular blood donor
who had joined the bone marrow register via the National Blood Service. We met her for
the first time in July of 2009 (see page 25 for picture). I am yet to find words to thank her
sufficiently, but I will keep looking. We will never forget the support of the ACLT &
continue to volunteer and fundraise for them (and the NBS) on a regular basis.”
The experience inspired a number of poems including, in 2006 ‘Unknown Friend’ first
read at The Theatre Royal Stratford East, at the UK Slam poetry championship.