Gary Barlow joins campaign to help find Sleights youngster Evie a stem cell donor
Take That megastar Gary Barlow has joined the campaign to find a young Sleights girl a stem cell donor.
The hit singer and songwriter is among a string of musicians and actors who have left messages of support for Evie Hodgson and her drive to encourage more people to join the donor register.
“I’m absolutely delighted by the support she is getting,” said her mum Tina.
Brave Evie, who goes to Fyling Hall School in Robin Hood’s Bay, is in need of a stem cell transplant after being diagnosed with the rare and devastating blood disease aplastic anaemia earlier this year.
A match was found and the surgery scheduled but just a few weeks before, and with no explanation, the donor pulled out.
The little girl loves music and singing and, touched by her story, one well-connected campaigner has been arranging for stars of the theatre and music world to record video messages for her.
Gary Barlow’s video came on Friday and Evie was “over the moon” to watch it.
Other celebrities sending support include Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, and Evita star Mike Sterling, Absolutely Fabulous and Wicked actress Harriet Thorpe, Coronation Street actress Wendi Peters, West End star Kerry Ellis, as well as actors from West End productions of Mary Poppins, Harry Potter and The Cursed Child and Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.
“Evie had a couple of infections and was in hospital for a week,” said Tina.
“These messages started coming in and they really lifted her spirits. She can feel the support and love coming from people.”
Evie and her family are determined not to give up on their search for a donor, and have been working to spread word of her plight across the country.
They even appeared on ITV’s popular daytime show This Morning earlier this month, speaking to hosts Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby from hospital where Evie was receiving a platelet transfusion.
Tina, who works at RAF Fylingdales, said doctors are looking at revisiting the donor register to find another match for her daughter at the end of this year.
“What we’re asking is for people who have asked for swabs to send them back because the average return rate is about 50 per cent,” she said.
“We’ve had a fantastic response from people asking for swabs but it is worthless if they are not sent back.”
A Facebook page calling on people to sign up for the donor register launched by friends of Evie’s family now has more than 27,000 members, while a page on the website for blood cancer charity DKMS sharing Evie’s story has generated over 12,000 new sign-ups for the transplant register.
“I’ve told Evie that even if no match comes from this for her, she has definitely saved someone’s life out there,” said Tina.
Click https://www.dkms.org.uk/en/register-now to find out more about donating and join the register or, for people aged under 30, click https://www.anthonynolan.org/
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