Six -year-old Kaiya Patel from Rickmansworth, has been announced as the winner of a national charity award.
The youngster was awarded the John Petchey Young Hero Award at the Anthony Nolan Supporter Awards (ANSAs), which took place recently.
Kaiya was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in March 2018. Kaiya’s parents, Annu and Ruchit Patel launched the #CureKaiya campaign, in the hope of finding a stem cell donor.
Spurred on in the knowledge that just 20 per cent of patients from Asian or other ethnic minority backgrounds will find the best possible match, compared to 69 per cent of northern European patients, the family, supported by Kaiya’s aunt and uncle Nick and Priya Desai, urged the South Asian community to consider signing up.
On the night of the awards Nick and Priya collected the award on Kaiya’s behalf.
Priya said: “Kaiya’s bravery and strength astound us every day but it is wonderful that others get to see it too. We are so proud of her and thankful to all of you who dedicated time to raise awareness for this important cause.”
Nick said: “On behalf of the whole family we thank you and we hope that the 40,000 plus sign ups we managed to add to the stem cell registry through the #curekaiya campaign, will save a lot of lives! Kaiya is a true inspiration to us, I can’t wait to see how much more of an impact she will make in the future.”
Kaiya’s appeal encouraged people to engage in conversations about stem cell donation via social media inspiring thousands of people to join the Anthony Nolan register. Videos of Kaiya thanking her supporters have been posted throughout her treatment journey, through which she has thanked people for supporting her campaign and registering to become a potential donor.
In August, Kaiya’s family received the news a donor had been found and in September, just after her sixth birthday she received her stem cell transplant.
Anthony Nolan uses its register to match potential stem cell donors to blood cancer patients in desperate need of a stem cell transplant. It also carries out vital research to make stem cell transplants more successful and supports patients through their transplant journey.
Trudy Kilcullen MBE, CEO of the Jack Petchey Foundation said “Kaiya is an inspiration with an incredibly powerful story. It’s incredible what a difference her story has made to the number of sign-ups to the register, and she is a hugely deserving winner.”