Worldwide campaign launched to find donor for Fife tot Ava

A Lochgelly mum has launched a worldwide campaign to find a bone marrow donor for her three-year-old daughter.

Thursday, 28th July 2016, 9:30 am
Ava Stark, three years old, from Lochgelly. She has inherited bone marrow failure and her mum Marie has launched a world-wide campaign to help find a bone marrow donor.

Marie Stark was given the devastating news that little Ava has Inherited Bone Marrow Failure at the end of May.

And while a donor was traced quickly after the diagnosis, the family was dealt a terrible blow when the person pulled out at the last minute.

“They originally said yes, but when it came to organising a date, they pulled out and said they could do it next year instead.

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“But we need a donor for Ava as soon as possible.”

Ava had been unwell for a while and then she brought a blood clot up through her nose earlier this year.

She was rushed to the Victoria Hospital, and after she started vomiting blood, several tests were carried out and she was transferred to the Sick Kids hospital in Edinburgh.

Marie told the Press that while doctors initially thought it could have been leukaemia or aplastic anaemia, she was eventually diagnosed with inherited bone marrow failure.

It is a rare genetic disorder whereby the marrow does not produce blood cells.

Because of this, Ava has to go to hospital for weekly platelet transfusions and twice-monthly blood transfusions.

But Marie says it doesn’t phase her.

“She’s fine,” the mum said. “She just takes it all in her stride. She knows that she has to go to hospital, but she actually gets excited because they’re all her friends there.

“It doesn’t bother her, but she does get tired.”

She added: “The hospital staff have been really supportive, and when I had to go back to work, my mum gave up her two jobs to look after Ava and my son Adam (14)”

After the donor pulled out, Marie launched a huge campaign to try to find someone who is a ten out of ten match for Ava.

And in just the past week, thanks to thousands of shares on social media and the story featuring on national news programmes and radio, 10,000 people have already signed up.

“It’s amazing to think that many people have signed up to help,” said Marie.

If you’re between the ages of 16 and 30, you can sign up to donate at Anthony Nolan. You’ll get a ‘spit kit’ through the post, which you then send back, and you’ll be registered. If you’re over the age of 30, the British Bone Marrow Registry also accepts donors between the ages of 17 and 40. If you’re found to be a match, you’ll be asked to give a blood sample to confirm, before the process of donation begins.