Radio Sandwell Local News

Cancer victim Ulrika Dandekar makes new donor plea

2014-12-27 18:42:47

Ulrika Dandekar
Ulrika Dandekar makes desperate appeal

A brave cancer victim with only days left to live last night renewed calls for people to donate life-saving stem cells in a selfless bid to save others.

Ulrika Dandekar, 21, known as Riya, has moved into the Marie Curie Hospice in Solihull after being told she only has a week or two left to live.

Ulrika Dandekar
Ulrika Dandekar, from Solihull, who has a rare
type of blood cancer called Anaplastic
Lymphoma and is looking fro stem cell
treatment, at Race For Life

But the inspirational youngster, who launched an appeal to get the nation signing up to the bone marrow register after discovering 15 cancerous lumps in her body in September, is still fighting for others from her death bed.

Despite a donor being found for her, the rare type of blood cancer she is suffering from never went into remission and the operation could not go ahead.

She was too weak to talk after months of gruelling chemotherapy and more than eight cycles of radiotherapy at Heartlands Hospital.

Ulrika's mum, Dr Ursula Bahalkar, spoke to the Birmingham Mail on behalf of her generous daughter.

"She is very tired at the moment," she said. "Sometimes she is just too exhausted and can't do much at all.

"Despite all the efforts of the appeal there was only one potential donor found for her in the United States.

"But the doctors couldn't take it further because her cancer never fully went into remission.

"She is so tired, but Riya desperately wanted me to put out a new appeal.

"There are so many people out there who could benefit, and the process is so simple and easy.

"There are no needles involved and what will take people just a few minutes could save someone's life."

Ulrika Dandekar
Ulrika Dandekar, from Solihull, with her mum Ursula Bahalkar

Riya, from Solihull, was first given the devastating Anaplastic Lymphoma diagnosis after discovering a lump in her armpit in February.

The odds of finding a match were always stacked against her with just a one in 125,000 chance because of the lack of Asian donors.

But anyone could have been a match for the aspiring doctor, who touched hearts across the country with her campaign, and while running the Race for Life at Cannon Hill Park earlier this year.

Ursula added: "There's another little Asian boy being treated by the same consultant as Riya now.

"It's just heartbreaking that so many campaigns and appeals are going ahead when there are people who desperately need the help now."

Ulrika makes video appeal for stem cell donors in September

HOW YOU CAN HELP

* If you want to join the donor register and are aged 16-30 contact Anthony Nolan on 0303 303 0303 or www.anthonynolan.org

* Those aged 16-49 can contact the British Bone Marrow Registry on 0300 123 23 23 or www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/bonemarrow

* You can also give a mouth swab if you are aged between 18-55 to Delete Blood Cancer, by calling 0203 1767620.

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