Home World News Teen has just days to find donor after recruitment events axed due...

Teen has just days to find donor after recruitment events axed due to Covid

0
14
Teen has just days to find donor after recruitment events axed due to Covid

 A teenage girl battling leukaemia is in a race against time to find a life-saving bone marrow donor – after recruitment events were cancelled due to coronavirus.

Amy Bartlett, 14, has “just weeks” to find a suitable donor after receiving the devastating news her cancer had returned for a second time.

The schoolgirl had been due to finish her two years of gruelling chemotherapy on Saturday (4/7) but was given the crushing diagnosis two weeks ago.

Her parents Marie Bartlett, 51, and husband Leigh, 48, are now desperately appealing for volunteers to sign up to the bone marrow register in a bid to find her a match.

The couple, of West Bridgford, Nottingham, say she only has three weeks to find a donor after NHS recruitment drives stopped running due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Marie, a solicitor, and banking boss Leigh said it “ripped their hearts out” to tell their daughter she needed the transplant following her two year battle with the disease.

Upon being diagnosed at 12-years-old the “inspirational” youngster had said: “Mummy, it is ok – it’s better I get it, than another smaller child.

“I am stronger and so have a better chance to beat it.”

But following her relapse, Leigh and Marie are urging people to join the register online via DKMS, The Anthony Nolan Trust or NHS British Bone Marrow Registry.

Marie said: “It ripped my heart out to tell her and hold her whilst trying to convince her that she had done it once and she could do it again.

“How do you tell your daughter, whose tiny body has been through so much already, that the cancer she has fought so hard to overcome has returned

“We need to find a match for Amy ideally within the next two to three weeks, so time is of the essence.”

Dad Leigh, CEO of Masthaven Bank, said: “We’re just appealing for volunteers to come forward. Please help our inspirational little girl who’s been through so much.

“She really does deserve a break after everything she’s been through for the last two and a half years.

“Amy is an inspiration. The way she has dealt with is has been amazing. As her father, I just want to do everything I possibly can.

“That’s why I am speaking to as many people as I can, to spread the word and get as many people as we possibly can on the register.

“She’s trying to stay positive, she’s a strong young lady, but it’s pretty tough, especially when you think you’re so close.”

Teen has just days to find donor after recruitment events axed due to Covid 1

Amy was described as being “playful, happy and energetic” before she was first diagnosed in February 2018 after complaining about aches and pains in her joints.

Her condition was categorised as high risk and she received the most intensive rounds of chemotherapy administered to children diagnosed with the disease.

Leigh added: “There’s no logical explanation of why she’s got it, it’s just one of those things. Some people get it.

“She embarked on pretty intensive chemotherapy, for the first three months.

“Because of the strain of leukaemia she had, it had to be very intensive. She lost all of her hair, lost a lot of her strength and basically had to be in a wheelchair.

“She wasn’t strong enough to walk around. She also had some reactions to some of the chemotherapy.”

Amy suffered liver problems, steroid-induced diabetes and allergic reactions to medications during her first round of treatment.

Leigh said: “The first three to four months were really tough. Slowly Amy’s strength started to come back, her hair started to grow.

“Day by day, you could see some recovery, but it’s never a full recovery because you’re constantly taking this chemotherapy. It really takes all your strength away from you.

“Roll forward to the start of June, we’re all getting excited and counting down the days because this Saturday was supposed to be the end of the chemotherapy treatments.

“They did a test on her three weeks ago and then the following day we got the phone call that changed it all really.

“They said, unfortunately, they’ve detected leukaemia has returned in her body.”

Teen has just days to find donor after recruitment events axed due to Covid 2

Amy had to be admitted to Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham to begin testing and chemotherapy that afternoon.

Leigh said: “They had to consider, what’s the right treatment path.

“Because leukaemia came back, especially while she was still under chemotherapy, the first worry is that the chemotherapy won’t work anymore.

“The unfortunate reality is she needs a different path to find the solution.

That path is a going through a bone marrow stem cell transplant. In order to do that she needs a donor.

“There’s not a lot I can do. You feel a little bit helpless. You’re in the hands of the medical experts.

“The one thing I can do is raise awareness because times like this you realise how important it is for people to sign up to be a donor.

“Save somebody’s life. It might not be Amy’s but it could be, you never know. One day, you could be called upon to make a real difference to someone’s life so please sign up.

“That’s really the message that I’m pushing. There’s a big misconception out there, which is you’ve got to go to the hospital, you’ve got to give blood and everything.

“The reality is it’s very straightforward. The big two which is DKMS and the Anthony Nolan Trust, you can sign up online and they’ll send you a pack through the post.

“You fill out the form, complete a swab, put it back in the prepaid envelope and return it and you’re on the register.

“That’s really what I’m trying to encourage as many people as I possibly can.”

Her elder brother Marcus, 18, was tested as a potential option but was not a match, with siblings only having a 25 per cent chance to be a donor.

Dr Mark Jesky, Amy’s consultant at Nottingham University Hospitals, said: “For children or adults, like Amy, whose leukaemia has sadly returned, undergoing a stem cell transplant offers the highest chance of a cure.

“Often these donors are volunteers as many patients do not have a suitable family match.

“Young men are particularly encouraged to register as they are the most frequent chosen donors.

“For the donor the process of donating is simple but for the patient this donation could give them a second chance at life”

There are around 10,100 new leukaemia cases in the UK every year and accounts for 30 per cent of all cancers diagnosed in children under 15 years of age.

To register to be a donor through the DKMS website visit here:  https://www.dkms.org.uk/en/register-now

Alternatively, go to the Anthony Nolan Trust website at:  https://www.anthonynolan.org/8-ways-you-could-save-life/donate-your-stem-cells

.

NO COMMENTS

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here