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Lifesaving stem cell donor found for young Chloe

A mother from Fort William is overwhelmed after receiving the news that a potentially lifesaving stem cell donor has been found for her daughter. Chloe Purvis, who is just nine years old was diagnosed with an extremely rare blood disorder and told she urgently needed a stem cell transplant if she is to be cured.  Thanks to an anonymous donor, her transplant will now take place in a couple of weeks’ time. 

Chloe was initially diagnosed with MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome), a rare type of blood cancer, at the end of last year. Chloe’s mum, Sarah, took her to see her GP in November when she noticed that Chloe was getting particularly out of breath and was feeling more tired than usual.

Doctors initially struggled to get a definitive diagnosis, and a bone marrow biopsy later confirmed that she didn’t have MDS but severe Aplastic Anaemia, an extremely rare blood disorder. Chloe has been having platelet transfusions every 5-7 days and her original transplant, which was scheduled for June has now been brought forward, to the middle of May.

Sarah was worried that a donor may not be found for Chloe, as a match had not been found within the family. Blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan jumped into action and searched the worldwide stem cell register for a special stranger who could save Chloe’s life.

Sarah said: “Finding a match for Chloe so quickly was such an amazing feeling! Waiting for a match is tough, and when we were told one had been found, it was overwhelming. We are so lucky to have a match and are so grateful to Chloe’s donor for giving our beautiful daughter a future.

Sarah is also keen to encourage others to register as potential donors, for those people still waiting for a match.

She said: ‘It’s not just about Chloe, others are still waiting for their own life-savers.’

Chloe’s grandmother, Gillian, has been showing her support by raising money for Anthony Nolan through Facebook, as well as having organised a fundraising event for a few weeks’ time.

Amy Bartlett, Regional Development Manager for Scotland, said: ‘While it’s heartbreaking to hear that Chloe will need to have a transplant, it’s great to hear that a donor has been found and Chloe’s transplant can go ahead.

‘Sadly, not everyone can find a lifesaving match but joining the Anthony Nolan register – which is a simple process – could change the life of someone like Chloe.

‘We’re particularly calling on young men aged 16-30 to consider joining the Anthony Nolan register as young men provide 50% of all stem cell donations but makeup just 18% of our register. All it takes is a form and a cheek swab; without you, there is no cure.’

Anthony Nolan recruits people aged 16-30 to the stem cell register as research has shown younger people are more likely to be chosen to donate. It also costs £40 to recruit each potential donor to the register, so Anthony Nolan relies on financial support.

To find about more about joining the Anthony Nolan register, or to find out more about the different ways you can support, visit www.anthonynolan.org/Chloe

Gillian’s fundraising page can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/donate/2352797478276804/