Desperate race for bone marrow donor to save musician’s life

Daffydd Tavinor (38) with his newborn daughter Matilda Tavinor and partner Sabina Mazurek (30)
Daffydd Tavinor (38) with his newborn daughter Matilda Tavinor and partner Sabina Mazurek (30)
Harry Sotnick House

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CLUTCHING his daughter in his arms, Daffydd Tavinor gazes adoringly into her beautiful face.

It should be a perfect moment for the 38-year-old musician who is well known as the guitarist in Irish folk duo Hanging Tree Band.

Daffydd Tavinor performing before he was taken ill

Daffydd Tavinor performing before he was taken ill

But sadly Daffydd, who is well know in the area’s musical community, knows he has only a 50 per cent chance of survival if a bone marrow match is found – and if it isn’t his chances fall to just 20 per cent.

He was diagnosed with leukaemia at Christmas and last month while he was fighting for his life his daughter was being born in the same hospital, Queen Alexandra, in Cosham.

He wasn’t able to see her for two days until he stabilised and Sabina’s friend had to run between wards to check on both of them. Now the couple are urging people to register with bone marrow transplant charity Anthony Nolan as potential donors in a desperate bid to save Daffydd’s life.

On a rare day of out hospital he said: ‘As a musician you like to stay fairly footloose and carefree and not tied down to anyone.

‘But since Matilda has been born, my God, my attitude has changed completely. I’d have another five.

‘When I saw Matilda for the first time I burst into tears. I was delighted and just thinking about it now puts a lump in my throat.

‘At the moment I have no immune system because of the chemo and I’ve had a few strokes. It means I can’t play guitar. My memory is there and there are some signs of creativity but I have no co-ordination. I hope to be able to play again one day. ‘

Thirty-year-old Sabina, who lives with Daffydd in Petersfield, urged him to go to the doctors after he spent two weeks thinking he had flu.

She said: ‘It has been very hard but if you think about a situation too much you will go crazy so I stay strong – there is nothing else I can do.

‘At one point before Matilda was born the doctors told me he would not last more than a couple of hours. The second time he was very very sick I was in labour but I wasn’t told how bad it was. The doctors felt afterwards he had got a little better and agreed that he could see Matilda because the joy of meeting his child would be beneficial to him.

‘I would encourage people to register as a donor. If not for Daffydd then for others who have this dreadful illness.’

Friends have promised to register with Anthony Nolan to see if they are matches.

There are hopes to set up a donor session locally soon.

In the meantime you can register as a donor at The bone marrow transplant charity urgently needs more 18 to 30-year-old men to register as they provide the best matches. In 80 per cent of cases cells can be taken through blood.

Francis MacNamara from the Hanging Tree Band is to perform at The Spring, in Havant, tonight.

Donations to help Daffydd and Sabina are welcome.