A Lochgelly mum’s desperate plea for bone marrow donors to help save her three-year-old daughter’s life has brought a tremedous response.
In the 24-hour period after Marie Stark made the appeal for a donor to help her daughter Ava, who suffers from a rare blood disorder and needs a stem cell transplant to survive, more than 8000 people enquired with the Anthony Nolan Trust about becoming donors.
And Marie (33), is praying that one of them could be a match for Ava, after a second planned transplant fell through just 24 hours before it was due to take place.
Ava has been having weekly transplants of blood and platelets which help her blood to clot.
Marie said: “We don’t know how long Ava has, as everyone is different, but there will come a day when her body will start to develop antibodies against the blood transfusions. We are keeping everything crossed that a donor is found as soon as possible.
“It takes about two weeks to have the testing kit sent out then another two weeks to be put on to the register, so we are hoping that we will have some good news by next month.”
Ava was diagnosed with inherited bone marrow failure in April. A search of 25 million donors on the register revealed just one match.
The donor agreed to a transplant, and the operation was scheduled for July but it was unable to go ahead. The family was relieved when a second match was found and Ava was scheduled to go to hospital in Glasgow on Tuesday to prepare for her transplant next week.
However the family was “devastated” when doctors said the new donor had been forced to pull out just hours before for medical reasons.
Marie said: “Because of the way the system works and the rules in place, we don’t get to find out any more information than that. But they could have had a heart attack or a stroke or anything.
“Ava was calling the donor her hero, but when it was cancelled I had to tell her she didn’t have a hero any more. It was heartbreaking.”
Any possible donors must be an identical match to Ava, and Marie explained that Ava’s tissue type was not as common as some others, making a perfect match more difficult.
“Ava needs a transplant to save her life and Christmas is fast approaching, so I want to ask anyone who hasn’t already been tested to do so and give Ava the gift of life,” she said.
“I can’t lose my little girl, she means everything to our family.”
Any relatively healthy adult aged between 16 and 30 can sign up for the painless test through the Anthony Nolan Trust while older donors can register with Delete Blood Cancer, which takes people aged 17-55.