Store launches rallying call to save life of much-loved Sheldon - The Worcester Observer

Store launches rallying call to save life of much-loved Sheldon

Worcester Editorial 8th May, 2020 Updated: 8th May, 2020   0

CARING supermarket staff have launched a life-saving bid to find potential stem cell donors to come to the aid of much-loved colleague Sheldon Donovan who is fighting a rare blood cancer.

Sheldon, 28, has begun a desperate search for a donor after his cancer returned for a third time and all other treatment failed to tackle his Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

And now store chiefs at Asda in the St Martin’s Quarter have issued a rallying call for shoppers to find out if they hold the key to a future for the popular members of staff.

Sheldon has worked at Asda for 12 years – six of them at Cardiff where he started out a part-time George warehouse colleague while he was at college.

He said: “To my colleagues who have already registered I’d like to say a massive thank you as they could potentially be saving my life.

“I’m quite taken a back by all the support. It’s nice to hear that so many people think so much of me. It is a nice feeling that people do care for you. We just need that one person to match and make a difference.

Sheldon, who moved to Worcester five years ago to be with his partner Liam, is currently on sick leave.

The bid to find a match marks the latest effort in a four year fight to tackle the cancer which began in 2016 when Sheldon visited the doctor feeling unwell.

“I’m not usually one to go to the doctor, but I knew I couldn’t delay it any longer as my body just didn’t feel right. I went to the GP in October and shortly in after I was admitted into hospital,” he said/

“My results came back in early December and I was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma. It suddenly dawned on me I had cancer. They are very surreal words to hear especially when they are directed at you.

“All I knew was I was going to fight it with all my might. Firstly, I checked to see if my brother was a match, but sadly he wasn’t.

“I spoke to my local hospital about referring me to University Hospital of Wales, because it was based in Cardiff, which is where my parents live and meant they could to care for me.

“Thankfully, my local hospital agreed and I underwent six months of chemotherapy. I was only 24 at the time at the time of my diagnosis and I have to say I did at times feel a little sorry for myself. I was treated in the hospital’s teenage cancer unit, who arranged for me to meet Ed Sheeran in 2017 at the Royal Albert Hall.

“Eventually, I went into remission in June of 2017 – it was a fantastic feeling! When you go into remission, you daren’t forget to appreciate the small things in life. I was so happy to get back to spending time with my partner. I even went so far as to start thinking again about pursuing my hobby as a TV and film extra.”

“Unfortunately, my period of remission only lasted for 18 months – I relapsed in January 2019. I was treated with more chemotherapy and then had an autologous stem cell operation several months later in August.

“This is where my own stem cells were used to replace my damaged ones. Sadly, it wasn’t to last, because a year after my first relapse the cancer returned for a second time in January 2020.”

“I really am down to my last chance now. It’s simple, I want a second chance of life which means relying on the help of a stranger.

“I have so much more living to do and dreams to fulfil. I adore my partner Liam and our recent addition to our household – our labradoodle, Charlie.

“Please give me a chance – I’m only 28, and not ready to die just yet.”

Store manager Rukia Hussain said many staff, including herself, have already registered with DKMS to see if any of them could be a suitable donor match.

“As a person he is so loved by everyone in the store. He’s got a really loud bubbly personality and he’s always been just the life of the party. He’s always got involved in things and got everyone else involved too. He is a really big character, a pillar in the store,” she said.

“Twenty-eight is no age at all to go through all this, so we’re all hoping he will get a match soon.”

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