An appeal has been launched to find a stem cell donor for a five-year-old Northwood schoolgirl with a rare and aggressive form of leukaemia which is normally fatal.
Kaiya Patel’s hopes of finding a donor have been made even harder because of her ethnic background. The chances of finding a suitable donor in black, Asian and other minority ethnic groups is just 20.5 per cent because they only make up 15 per cent of people on the donor register.
Kaiya’s parents, sister and cousin have been tested but they are unfortunately not a match and now her family are appealing to others to sign up to give Kaiya the best chance in the time there is left.
Kaiya’s father Ruchit told NorthwoodNews she was diagnosed in March this year after the family spotted bruising on her legs and took her to the hospital. Ruchit admitted the family are struggling to come to terms with the news.
He commented: “We were completely and utterly heartbroken. I didn’t stop crying for four weeks. Kaiya understands a bit but not everything and certainly not everything about the prognosis. We want to ensure she stays positive.”
Once an active girl who enjoyed swimming and gymnastics, Kaiya is in and out of hospital and doctors’ appointments. She recently spent four weeks at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital undergoing chemotherapy and is now recovering at home.
Ruchit said the family are very close and said Kaiya and her little sister Annika adore each other.
He commented: “It’s been tough for Annika too. She looks up to her sister and needs her best friend. Other family members and friends have been amazing. They have taken to the challenge of finding donors with incredible positivity. They have been so persuasive. The success of our campaign is due to them.”
“I’d also like to talk about the kindness that we’ve received from complete strangers. People have interrupted their daily lives and gone to considerable lengths to help Kaiya.”
Carters Chemist & Ability on Northwood High Street held a donor drive last month attended by around 600 people. You can register to be a donor and receive a swab kit at www.dkms.org.uk