Ilford family to campaign for more bone marrow donors after 11-year-old daughter loses cancer fight

11:31 15 November 2012

Brave Fiza Bashir with her mum, Riffat

Brave Fiza Bashir with her mum, Riffat


“I was glad she was no longer in pain, but I just wanted to cuddle my little girl,” said the mum of an 11-year-old, who is determined to get more bone marrow donors registered from ethnic minority groups after the death of her daughter.

Donor facts

There are currently 1600 people in the UK who desperately need a lifesaving bone marrow transplant.

Only 50 per cent of these patients will be able to find a match from registered donors.

To register as a donor visit

Family and friends worked tirelessly to find a donor for Fiza Bashir, of St George’s Road, Ilford, after she was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, in September last year.

Despite a hundred donors coming forward after a recruitment event held at Fiza’s school, Gilbert Colvin Primary, in Stafford Avenue, Clayhall and an appeal in the Recorder, a match was not found and she died in August.

Her mum, Riffit, said: “I was so glad she was no longer in pain, but I just wanted to hold and cuddle my little girl. She was very weak towards the end and could no longer speak, but you could see the happiness in her eyes when the family was around her.”

They faced the agonising experience of waiting for test results to see if a donor match had been found for Fiza and made the decision to go forward with a haplo transplant (a half-match) from a family member, to try and buy her some more time.

Patients from black and ethnic minority backgrounds (BME) have a 40 per cent chance of finding a matching donor, compared to 90 per cent for white northern European patients.

Riffit, who also has a son and daughter, said: “Fiza taught me that you must just keep living; she was a fighter.

“I still feel like my right arm is missing.

“My family and I want to keep going especially as there are children out there who still need donors.

“We are looking into how we can raise awareness of the lack of donors from Caribbean and Asian backgrounds.”

A spokesman from the Anthony Nolan Trust, who supported Fiza’s appeal, said: “We are working hard to research ways to help patients from BME backgrounds, particularly the Asian-Indian population.”


Latest Ilford News Stories

Travel delays (credit: BBC/Google)

The A127 in Upminster is closed westbound at the junction of Hall Lane and there is queuing traffic London-bound between the M25 J29 junction and the Hall Lane junction, because of an accident.

Waltham Road in Woodford Green (credit:Google)

A man in his 50s was rushed to hospital after two men allegedly threw an “unknown substance” in his face in Woodford Green.

Farouk Ismail, FORMO's chief executive

British Muslim faith leaders are set to create their own anti-radicalisation scheme, in light of concerns about the government’s own initiative.

26 minutes ago
Clocks go back on Sunday morning (PA Photo/Handout)

Get your best pyjamas on – it’s time for an extra long lie-in this Sunday.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news


Show Job Lists


£3,000 goes a long way at Boots

Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

Kit yourself out and go Apple mad!

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Ilford Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now