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Home Office refuse to grant visa that could save mum's life

PICTURED: Shirley Kordie and her four-year-old son, Blessing

A MAN who could save his sister's life has been refused a visa to travel to the UK from Ghana by the Home Office.

Shirley Kordie, a 33-year-old mother from Walsall, has been living with hypoplastic MDS, a very rare form of blood cancer, for the last seven years. She needs a stem cell transplant from her brother Joseph, a nurse who lives in Ghana, but the Home Office has refused him a visa because he does not earn enough money.

Kordie’s doctors at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham have told her she urgently needs a stem cell transplant to survive.

Kordie is desperate to be well again so that she can return home, care for her young son and get back to work. She said: “My life is in danger. I need to get my life back for my son. I have my little boy, and I want to live for him.”

Her four-year-old son, Blessing, wants his mum to come home from the hospital. At the moment she is entirely reliant on blood transfusions to reduce her life-threatening anaemia and her reduced white blood cells put her at high risk of infection.

Blood cancer charities Anthony Nolan and the ACLT (African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust) are working together to support Kordie’s case and help get the Home Office’s decision overturned.

The stem cell transplant from her brother is currently Kordie’s greatest chance for survival. There are no alternative options for a donor on the international stem cell registers, and it is not possible for her brother to donate in Ghana.

Henny Braund, chief executive of Anthony Nolan, said: “Shirley’s best chance of recovery so she can care for her young son, Blessing, is a stem cell transplant and I am deeply concerned her brother Joseph, who is a perfect match, has been denied a visa. The Home Office has made concessions for similar cases in the past and I urge the minister to reconsider.

“Each passing day leaves Shirley increasingly anxious, and at increased risk of infection. His sister is in need and Joseph is ready – this situation needs to be urgently resolved so Shirley can have the treatment she so desperately needs.”

Orin Lewis, chief executive of the ACLT, said: “Shirley has a match and to be told that her brother, Joseph, cannot donate his stem cells is hugely worrying.

“The stark reality is Shirley has no other option. The search for an unrelated donor is made difficult due to her African heritage, which means she is three times less likely to find a perfect match. The minister needs to step in and give Shirley her best chance of life, and raising her young son.”

A petition has been set up to on Change.org to urge the Home Office to grant Kordie’s brother a visa that could save her life and allow her son to have his mum back home.

The petition has almost reached 10,000 signatures.

A similar case
In July 2017, May Brown, a 24-year-old mother-of-one whose sister was initially refused a visa to travel to the UK to donate her bone marrow, died.

Brown, who had leukaemia, needed her sister – described as a 10/10 match – to come to the UK for the procedure, but the Home Office was “not satisfied” that her sister, Martha, would be a genuine visitor.

After a successful campaign, the decision to deny Martha’s visa was overturned and the transplant went ahead but just months after the treatment, Brown relapsed and later died.

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