A woman whose sister was refused entry to the UK to donate her “perfect match” bone marrow has died from leukaemia.
May Brown, 24, was told she needed an urgent stem cell transplant last year.
But her sister, Martha Brown, was blocked from travelling to Britain from Nigeria despite being a “10 out of 10” tissue match.
According to the family, the Home Office said it was “not satisfied” that she would be a genuine visitor or had the funds to cover the costs of the trip.
That decision was overturned following a campaign, and the stem cell transplant was performed at King’s College Hospital in London in January.
The transplant appeared to have been successful and Martha returned to Nigeria, but three months later May, who had a three-year-old daughter, relapsed.
The 24-year-old, from Weymouth in Dorset, was told by consultants there was nothing more that doctors could do for her, and last Friday she died with loved ones, including her husband Mike, by her side.
The Home Office’s decision to temporarily halt Martha’s entry to the UK came despite a pledge by the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT) to cover the full costs of her trip.
ACLT said Martha’s £222-a-month teacher’s salary was too low to meet entry requirements, despite the urgent medical needs of her sister.
May said at the time: “I was elated when I received the news Martha was a 10 out of 10 match. But when I received notification her visa was rejected, I felt distraught and helpless.
“My two-year-old daughter Selina needs me. She needs me to be back home with her, looking after her.
“To know my life isn’t important to those who have the power to help me is deeply upsetting. My life can be saved if my sister is granted to enter the UK to donate her stem cells.
“This is a six-hour journey which will help save my life. I am begging for the UK Home Office to review their decision and grant my sister admission to the UK.”
A petition to grant Martha a visa attracted more than 60,000 signatures, and was delivered to the Home Office, which declined to comment on her case but said “all visa applications must be assessed against theimmigration rules”.
Reversing the Home Office decision last October, immigration minister Robert Goodwill cited “compassionate and exceptional circumstances” in granting her leave to visit the UK.