Izaack Powell Needs Your Help

We are appealing to anyone of English/Jamaican decent, between the ages of 18-35yrs to come forward. Izaack Powell urgently needs a bone marrow match.

Please go to a Lifeblood Centre ASAP to donate blood and ask very clearly to be put on the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry. Alternatively please contact us.

Izaack Powell otherwise known as “Big Rig” by his family, was born in Brisbane Australia in 2002, and is now 21yrs old. His mum Suzie was born in Australia, and has worked as a nurse for more than 20yrs. John, Izaack’s father, was born in England of Jamaican parents and is a chef who has worked all over the world.

Suzie and John have three children. India is the eldest being 22yrs old and is studying nursing at University. Sienna is the youngest of the three at 17yrs old who is still at school and also plays soccer at a high level.

Izaack is squashed in the middle of his two amazing sisters at 21yrs old! Not to be outshone by the girls Izaack excelled academically and on the sports field. He started at a local club at 5yrs old where it became clear very quickly he had a talent and he quickly moved up through the ranks.

At 15yrs old he was approached by the Brisbane Roar Soccer Club and was given a scholarship with them. In 2019 he was selected to represent  Australia in Brazil  for the U17 Youth World Cup.   That same year at 16 yrs old he made his debut for Brisbane Roar being  the youngest ever player to be signed. He was in his last year at high school. Life was good. He also met his current girlfriend.

Around June 2021 he started to feel unwell and got the devastating news he had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. His and his family’s world stopped. The family, being very private people, kept this very quiet whilst Izaack recieved chemotherapy and other treatments that led to him being in remission.

He started back at university pursuing business studies and had just resumed playing soccer at his childhood club at a high level again,  when at a routine check up just after Easter this year he was told unbelievably his cancer had returned and that his only option is a bone marrow transplant.  Izaack has now resumed chemotherapy.

His family and friends are doing all they can to help this amazingly strong young man and his humble family face what no family should ever have to face, finding a life saving donor for their child.

We all want to see Izaack back on the soccer field doing what he does best and loves most. So we are asking if you can help by donating blood and joining the Register as a potential stem cell donor to help Izaack find his life saving stem cell match.

So we can all watch him fulfill his dreams out on the soccer field,  and live a long ,healthy, happy life.

Match for Murray

Gift of Life Australia (GOLA) has, since 1996, actively sought to address the under-representation of minority groups on the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ABMDR) to increase their chances of a person with a blood cancer (eg leukaemia) being able to find a life-saving stem cell match.

In Australia, people join the Registry by providing a blood sample. However, this is not world’s best practice, which is to collect samples by cheek swab – for example, Gift of Life USA has been doing so for over 20 years. GOLA participated in the ABMDR’s Strength to Give pilot cheek swab program in 2020 which, despite being was independently evaluated and deemed a great success, did not motivate the Federal Government to give the green light for the ongoing utilisation of swabs.

Cheek swabs are significantly more user-friendly, less expensive, vastly more scalable and can be done in the comfort of your own home. This is difficult to justify and Australia lags the western world.

Murray Foltyn who is Jewish man, 41 yrs with 2 young children, has a rare blood cancer and is in urgent need of a life-saving stem cell match. Whilst GOLA has already carried out two blood drives for Murray through Wolper Jewish Hospital this month, with further blood drives planned in Melbourne and Perth, we need to be able to test far greater numbers.

Thankfully, an exception has been made to help Murray.

The ABMDR granted GOLA and the Foltyn family the opportunity to do a cheek swab drive last week with 270 amazing people turning up at Kehillat Kadimah to provide DNA samples in the hope of finding a match for Murray. Each donor was only onsite for 15 minutes so efficient was the process executed with the support of ABMDR management and Foltyn family and friends.

“This event was a clear demonstration of both the power of community and the many advantages of acquiring registrants by using cheek swabs – the sheer volumes that are possible increases the chances of a match particularly when the event is as targeted as this was” said Richard Glass, Chairman of GOLA. “Lives will be lost if the Federal Government does not enable the general rollout of cheek swabs”.

Claudia Milunsky, wife of Murray Foltyn, added ‘Our family cannot thank enough those people who have come forward. We need to have as many people sampled as possible and ask anyone aged 18 -35 years who is not already on the Registry to please go to the Lifeblood centres to donate blood and ask to be put on the ABMD register. For Murray, time is of the essence”.

Donor Drives

We regularly hold donor drives with local businesses and sporting clubs to build the ABDMR registry. We are grateful to these organisations for their support.