Give our dad a bone (marrow transplant): Wimbledon family’s quest to find vital donor

Receiving the news that you have been diagnosed with cancer can understandably bring your world, and that of your loved ones, to a shuddering halt.

But one Wimbledon family have refused to lie down to the disease and have instead taken their cancer fight to Facebook in search of potential bone marrow donors.

Rob Ireland, 57, was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer last July and immediately started treatment, which initially seemed to be having a positive effect.

However back in March Rob was told that a bone marrow transplant was the only way to save his life leading his family to set up the Facebook group Give Our Dad A Bone (Marrow Transplant) at the beginning of the month.

Rob Ireland and family dinner

The group now has more than 6,000 members, all pledging to apply to join the bone marrow register and help Rob find a match for his rare tissue type that currently has no match in the United Kingdom.

Rob’s daughter, Georgie, 23, said of the response: “You have all been incredible and utterly sensational human beings in the last 24 hours.”

Rob’s wife, Melanie, 57, echoed her sentiments: “I’m blown away by your generation, you’re absolutely amazing, thank you so much.”

Emma, 28, Rob’s eldest daughter, said: “We are completely overwhelmed by your support, keep sharing and fingers crossed for a match for our dad and the many other people suffering blood cancer.”

Rob Ireland old family photo

Every 20 minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with blood cancer and of the 2,000 people in the UK in need of a bone marrow transplant in the UK every year two-thirds won’t find a match within their family, so they need to turn to unrelated donors.

The chances of a match vary massively depending on ethnicity, with 60% of patients able to find a match from a stranger dropping to 20.5% for patients from black, Asian or ethnic minority backgrounds.

Rob said: “There is no option but positive mental attitude – hopefully with a little bit of positivity and initiative we are all a bit closer to fighting this shitty disease that effects so many peoples’ lives.”

If you are aged between 16 and 30, weigh more than 7st 12lbs and are in general good health then head over to to register.

Alternatively, if you are aged between 17 and 55 then you can register at

You can find the Facebook page here.

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