Sleights girl Evie, 8, inspires 12,000 to join stem cell transplant register
A Sleights girl whose stem cell donor pulled out at the last minute has inspired 12,000 people to join the transplant register.
The astonishing amount of new sign-ups has been generated by a page on the website for blood cancer charity DKMS sharing Evie Hodgson’s story.
“I’m absolutely delighted,” said Evie’s mum, Tina.
“When we started trying to raise awareness I thought we might get a few hundred people registering.
“I didn’t expect it to be thousands. It’s absolutely brilliant.”
As reported previously, eight-year-old Evie was diagnosed with rare blood condition aplastic anaemia - also known as bone marrow failure - earlier this year.
Evie’s body struggles to fight off even the most minor infection and she needs blood transfusions twice a week.
The most successful treatment is a stem cell transplant.
Tina, her husband Andy, and Evie’s five-year-old brother William have been tested but none are a match for her.
A perfect match was found on the transplant register and Evie’s surgery was scheduled.
But just a few weeks before her operation she was dealt the crushing blow that the donor had pulled out.
Now Evie has started a course of medication aimed at re-energising her bone marrow.
It has a 60 per cent chance of success and will be tried for three months.
If it does not work, doctors will consider a transplant from a donor who is less of a match, but this is less likely to work.
“It’s a horrible time for our family but having this response from people makes us feel that people have our backs and it drives us on,” said Tina.
She added that the number of people who have signed up is believed to be more as some contacted DKMS before the page dedicated to Evie was launched on their site.
Transplant charity Anthony Nolan have also shared Evie’s story and told Tina their sign ups have since increased by 300 per cent.
And a Facebook page set up by friends of Evie’s family to encourage people to sign up to become stem cell donors - Evie Needs a Hero - now has more than 24,000 members.
DKMS says many people think the donation process is very invasive but around 90 per cent of donations are made through a process similar to giving blood.
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