Just weeks after giving birth to her "miracle baby" a first time mum has relapsed with leukaemia and desperately needs a bone marrow donor to survive.

Jo Mitchell has gone public in her search for a suitable donor to increase the chance of what she has described as "finding a needle in a haystack."

Because she is Chinese and Caucasian, finding a match is difficult - even with family searches of the 32 million people on the global register.

"We decided to share our story as we're not the only ones finding it difficult to locate a donor, and while we are in desperate need of one, there are many others that are too," Mitchell's husband Tim Lomas said.

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"We want Jo to live and see our son grow old, and to experience all the joys of parenthood."

Mitchell was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia as a 26 year old in 2013. For three years she battled the blood cancer, undergoing chemotherapy, blood transfusions and steroids.

In 2016 she was cleared of the disease and the couple made the most of life. They married, moved house and had an adventurous honeymoon.

"Since Jo's first diagnosis and treatment, we've tried our hardest to really soak up the experiences and life milestones that we've lucky enough to reach," Lomas said.

The couple packed good things into their lives when Jo went into remission and before her relapse. Photo / supplied
The couple packed good things into their lives when Jo went into remission and before her relapse. Photo / supplied

He said they were "playing catch up" on all of the good things friends were doing when Jo was having her initial cancer treatment.

Then, this year they welcomed baby boy Quinn to the family.

"We call Quinn our 'miracle baby' as we were told that our chances of having a baby at all were very slim due to Jo's first diagnosis and treatment," Lomas said.

Then came the relapse and medical advice that finding a donor was essential.

Siblings are usually the best bet for a bone marrow match, because they draw on the same genetics, but Mitchell is an only child.

The happy couple announce their engagement after Jo was cleared of cancer after treatment. Photo / supplied.
The happy couple announce their engagement after Jo was cleared of cancer after treatment. Photo / supplied.

Specialists are currently searching for a match of registered bone marrow donors but because of Jo's mixed heritage even that's not guaranteed.

Lomas said despite the difficulty in finding a donor the pair were hopeful a match would be found.

They had set up a website sharing Mitchell's story and advising how people could register to become bone marrow donors.

"We've weathered this storm before, and we will again - although the stakes are a lot higher this time round," Lomas said.

"We also don't really have any other options to be honest, as the doctors and specialists have told us that a bone marrow transplant is essential due to the fact Jo has relapsed."

Too ill to be interviewed this week, Mitchell told her partner that having Quinn helped keep her positive.

"Quinn is Jo's shining beacon throughout the darker times we've been through recently, and her determination to get through the treatment and raise our son is what is driving her to get better," Lomas said.

"I know we'll be alright in the end, but it breaks my heart to see Jo not able to parent to the degree that she really wants to."

The family have spent most of the time since Quinn's birth at Auckland Hospital navigating life with a newborn on a busy hospital ward.

"The whole experience has been incredibly taxing for us a family, but it has also brought us closer," Lomas said.

Jo Mitchell and Tim Lomas have gone public in their search for a bone marrow donor. Photo / supplied
Jo Mitchell and Tim Lomas have gone public in their search for a bone marrow donor. Photo / supplied

"A weird silver-lining of the whole thing is that we've been able to spend every day with our newborn son."

Executive officer of the New Zealand bone marrow register Raewyn Fisher commended Mitchell going public at such a difficult time.

She said registering as a donor was as easy as giving blood. And the process to donate bone marrow to an adult was just as easy.

In Mitchell's case, if a match is found, the bone marrow would be collected by a process called Peripheral Blood Stem Cell collection.

PBSC is less invasive than pelvic hip collection which requires general anaesthetic.

With PBSC a needle is inserted into the vein of a donor and a small amount of blood passes into a cell separator machine and removes the stem cells.

The rest of the blood passes out and is returned immediately to the donor.

The procedure takes around 4 hours and is performed at hospital or at a New Zealand Blood Service Donor Centre.

Lomas said he would be forever grateful to anyone who registered to help his wife - or anyone else needing a bone marrow transplant.

"I don't have enough kind words for the amazing people we're lucky enough to have in our lives, and we'll be forever thankful for their support and love," he said.

"We love life, and we desperately want to be there when we see Quinn discover that same love."

How to help
https://savejo.co/