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Blood donation brings two sides together
2003-03-06 14:03:02

Nicosia, Mar 6 (CNA) -- Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots have been queuing up patiently since early morning to give blood samples in an effort to find a donor for a bone marrow transplant for a five-year-old Turkish Cypriot girl.

''Today's response to the call by our compatriot Jale Sakaoglu proves that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots can cooperate, when they want to,'' Turkish Cypriot doctor Lek Yazman said, noting the worthy cause for which so many people are coming forth to help Jale.

Today's expression of support is a repeat of a similar call some years ago when thousands of Cypriots from both sides of the divide poured into a medical centre to donate blood in a bid to save the lives of two young boys, a Greek Cypriot and a Turkish Cypriot. The former, Andreas Vassiliou, has survived and is in good health, the latter, Kemal Caragoglu, has died.|

The blood samples were being collected at the Ledra Palace hotel, in the UN- controlled buffer zone. They will be sent to the Karaiskakion Foundation, the Cyprus Bone Marrow Registry, for test to see if they are compatible with the blood of the young Turkish Cypriot girl.

Marios Ioannides, speaking on behalf of bicommunal groups advocating rapprochement that organised today's event, said the response from the Turkish Cypriots is very encouraging, as the news has spread by word of mouth and young people, mostly students, are coming in droves.

Andreas' father, Vassos Vassiliou, said the purpose of the blood collection is to save Jale and to identify matching bone marrow donors for other sufferers, three Greek Cypriots and another Turkish Cypriot girl of six.

The story of Andreas and Kemal made the headlines worldwide at the time when both were desperately trying to find a matching bone marrow donor and there were outpours of emotions among Greek and Turkish Cypriots for the two young boys.


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