Evie Hodgson, 8, from North Yorkshire was diagnosed with Very Severe Aplastic Anaemia during the coronavirus lock-down. The only cure for this condition is a blood stem cell transplant.
Dad Andy, Mum Tina and Evie’s 5-year-old brother William, were all tested to see if they could donate but unfortunately they were not a match. Then some good news came: a blood stem cell donor match had been found, Evie started preparing for the transplant which was scheduled for early September 2020. Tragically, the family were later informed that the potential donor had removed their name from the register with weeks to go before her transplant date. Since receiving this news Evie’s world has been turned upside down.
Preparations for the transplant had already begun and Evie had undergone dental work and ovarian cryopreservation (ovary removal). This is because the chemotherapy involved in the ‘conditioning’ process would have likely made her infertile, so she had an ovary removed allowing her fertility options when she is older.
Evie’s long, blonde, curly, Rapunzel like hair was also affected. Her response was: “Before it falls out can I donate it to charity?” and so she donated 12 inches of her hair and now sports a cute curly bob.
Quite the entertainer, Evie loves to sing which has proven to be her therapy through this traumatic time. She has even performed multiple concerts for the doctors, nurses and hospital staff in the hospital corridors where she is being treated!
Evie is now about to start chemotherapy as well as suppressant treatment which causes some nasty side effects such as nausea, increased blood pressure and weight gain.
Whilst Evie and her family are shielding, they are doing all they can behind closed doors and a keyboard to encourage people to join the blood stem cell register.
By requesting a swab kit, you will help give hope to a family like the Hodgsons and could potentially one day save a life.
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.
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.