Mel Farrell-Rhodes, 41, who is originally from Morley and now lives in Manchester, has been fighting Aplastic Anaemia – a bone marrow disease – since she was eight-years-old.
Last month she received the devastating news from doctors that it had developed into Myelodysplasia Anaemia, a rare form of cancer in the bone marrow, and her best chance of survival is to have a stem cell transplant.
Mel’s family and the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust have launched a campaign urging more adults to donate stem cells in the hope of finding Mel a donor, and students from Leeds Beckett have produced a video in support of the appeal.
The #Match4Mel campaign is being promoted by international organisation MOBO, who are hosting the MOBO awards in Leeds this week.
The video, which was created by five Broadcast Media Technologies students, was shot in a studio at Leeds Beckett’s Headingley Campus.
We are helping with blood cancer charity @acltcharity to highlight #Match4Mel, a new patient appeal they’re working on to help save the life of 41 y/o Mel. Mel is mixed race and needs a lifesaving stem cell transplant. To find out how you can help visit https://t.co/0qS2ctdxyw— MOBO (@MOBOAwards) November 22, 2017
It will be broadcast on the MOBO’s social media and YouTube channels ahead of the star-studded award ceremony on 29 November.
Hugo Smith, Course Director for Broadcast Media Technologies at Leeds Beckett, said: “This was a really interesting opportunity for our students and we, as a department, are proud to be involved in this appeal and hopefully help in some way in finding a Match4Mel.
“The students filmed, cut and edited the footage and will see their work promoted by an international organisation with a global following.
“This project had a tight turnaround, which mirrored a real working environment in this industry. The students were offered the project on the Monday, shot the footage on the Tuesday and finished the edit on Wednesday following feedback from Mel and the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust.
“It was a great experience for our students and they were able to promote a worthwhile cause in the hope of helping Mel, while gaining practical experience of making filmed media content for clients.
“The African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust congratulated our students on what they said was ‘a brilliant job with a short window of opportunity’.”
The students will continue to support the #Match4Mel and Delete Blood Cancer campaigns on campus following the MOBOs, by creating videos encouraging more people to register to donate stem cells and broadcasting them across the university.
Mel is of a mixed race background and needs to find a donor from within the Black African/Caribbean, White British or Mixed Race communities.
There is a 90% chance white Northern Europeans will find a suitable donor from a stranger but only a 20% chance if you are black, Asian or from a minority ethnic background, according to figures from the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust.
If you are aged between 17-55 and in general good health, you can register as a potential blood stem cell donor – it only takes a few minutes. By registering, you could provide Mel or someone like her with a second chance of life. To find out more on the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust or to register to become a donor, visit the ACLT website.
The Leeds Beckett students involved in the video production were Esta Suma (producer), Livvy Weeks, Harris Khan and Ade Okupe (camera/sound/lighting), and Joe Tobias (editor and graphics).
Leeds Beckett graduate Solome Nanziri is also raising awareness of the campaign. Solome, who graduated from Leeds Beckett with a BSc (Hons) in Health Science in 2013, was born with sickle cell disease and is hoping to raise awareness on how members of the public can become donors. For more information go to: www.blood.co.uk