Are you Arya's Angel?

Arya, 11, from Cambridge was diagnosed with Aplastic Anaemia in July 2020. Aplastic Anaemia is a life threatening condition in which the body stops producing new blood cells that are needed to carry oxygen, prevent infection and to stop bleeding.

Arya is in desperate need of a blood stem cell transplant in order to give her a second chance of life. Unfortunately no-one in Arya’s family is a match so the family are relying on a complete stranger to help save Arya’s life.

The search to find this stranger is made even more challenging as Arya is of mixed heritage being half Indian and half Caucasian. Arya’s best chance of a match is from someone of Indian or mixed Indian/Caucasian origin.

Her Mum, Brundha and Dad, Geraint are appealing for more people to take the first step and register as potential blood stem cell donors, particularly people of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds. By requesting a home swab kit from DKMS, they may hold the correct HLA –typing to allow Arya to have the life saving stem cell transplant.

People from Black, Asian or other backgrounds have just a 20% chance of finding the best possible stem cell donor match, compared to 69% for northern European backgrounds – so it is essential for more people from diverse backgrounds to register as potential stem cell donors.

Brundha said: “Prior to her diagnosis Arya was fit and healthy. She loved to play sport and is very athletic, she swam, ran (100m sprints), played netball, hockey and was always on the trampoline and her zest for life was infectious.”

Geraint added “There is someone out there who is a match with Arya. By having more people from a diverse range of backgrounds on the register Arya and countless others may be able to find that all important match. They may be in the UK, USA, India or another country. We just need people to come forward and join the DKMS stem cell register. It is really straightforward to do and you could help save the life of someone like Arya.”’.

Despite Arya’s life changing diagnosis and the constant stays in hospital, whilst having immunosuppressive treatment, she remains positive and is hopeful of a matching donor being found.

Every 20 minutes, someone is diagnosed with blood cancer. This diagnosis is devastating, and during the corona virus outbreak, it is even more crucial that we do all we can to offer hope to people with blood cancer and blood disorders. We have seen the numbers of people joining the blood stem cell register decline dramatically in recent times, and now, more than ever before, we need you to sign up. For many, a blood stem cell donation is their best chance of recovery and only 30% of people find a match within their family. This means the remainder will need to find an anonymous blood stem cell donor, and that could be you.

Information about registration

Registering as a blood stem cell donor is easy, simply check your eligibility and request your home swab kit. Once you receive the kit, you will need to swab the inside of your cheek, following the instructions on the pack, before sending them back to us. Once we receive your swabs, they are processed in our lab to determine you tissue typing. Your typing is then stored, in an anonymised form, on the global database. This means you can be identified as a match for anyone in the world

A note about Coronavirus

We understand there are lots of worries and concerns around coronavirus and would like to reassure you that it is completely safe to request and send in your swabs.

If you're a match

If you are identified as a match, you will donate in one of two ways. In the majority of cases this is via a process called “Peripheral Blood Stem Cell collection”, which is a little like giving blood. In 10% of cases, the stem cells are taken from your bone marrow, under general anaesthetic. The method of donation is chosen by the patients team based on what is most suitable for them.

Together we will beat blood cancer.

To register as a blood stem cell donor, you need to be between 17-55, in general good health and not registered with another donor centre. To check your eligibility and request your swab kit, follow the link below.

It costs us £40 to register a new donor on the UK stem cell registry. As a charity, we rely on monetary donations from the public to help cover this cost and greatly appreciate any contribution, no matter how big or small.

If you are unable to register as a potential donor, we would be very grateful if you could consider making a contribution towards the cost of a registration.