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“It’s now or never” — Angus woman’s desperate appeal to save best friend

Soul sisters - Bekki, left, with Riekie
Soul sisters - Bekki, left, with Riekie

An Angus woman has issued a rallying call in a desperate effort to help save her best friend’s life.

Montrose mum Bekki Smith-Dutton said 39-year-old nurse Riekie Cloete won’t live to see her two children grow up unless £12,000 can be raised in a fortnight.

Riekie has an aggressive form of leukaemia which leaves her with just a one in 100,000 chance of survival.

The pair have been friends for 15 years since they travelled the world together working in cruise ship spas.

A bone marrow match was found in Germany for Riekie – who lives in South Africa – but her medical aid does not cover foreign donor matches.

She is currently under the care of a leading haematologist in Pretoria where the operation would be carried out but her blast cell count is becoming dangerously high.

Bekki, owner of Cloud 9 hair and beauty salon in Arbroath, has urged people to donate what they can.

“It really is a race against time,” she said. “Her cancer cell count has progressed 300% in the last three months.

“Her blast cell count is a whopping 19%. It is dangerously high and she needs the transplant right now.”

She said Riekie was diagnosed in September with just a one in 100,000 chance of getting a bone marrow match.

Bekki started a social media campaign to urge people to get a swab test to see if they could be a match.

The campaign was shared across Europe before a match was found in Germany where Riekie’s ancestors were from.

“This is the only known cure and it gives her a 70% chance of survival,” said Bekki.

“The German man is a 100% match but Riekie’s medical aid does not cover foreign donor matches.

“The German Bone Marrow Association has decided to contribute a little towards this but Riekie now needs to raise the rest.”

Bekki said it was heartbreaking to think that her two children who are just five and eight could soon be without their mum.

She said: “Without treatment she will die.

“It’s now or never.”

Riekie with her children
Riekie with her children

Bekki – who is mum to daughter Rudy, 10, said the operation alone is £15,000 but she has managed to gather £3,000 through local fundraising.

Riekie is selling her house to try to raise money and she will be in Pretoria for at least four months while receiving treatment and will be unable to work.

Bekki said the final bill could be as high as £32,000 but all they are concerned about just now is getting the £15,000 paid to allow the operation to proceed.

People can donate by clicking here.

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