Aashna is an active seven-year-old who loves Barbies, Lego, unicorns, mermaids and craft activities! In February 2023, Aashna was diagnosed with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL).
Aashna is from Indian heritage. Patients from minority ethnic backgrounds only have a 37% chance of finding a matching donor on the stem cell register, compared to 72% for those from white European backgrounds.
Aashna’s symptoms began with bone pain in her legs, causing her to limp and severely affecting her mobility. After approximately a month of visits to her GP, A&E and an orthopaedic doctor, a paediatric doctor ordered a full blood count which showed Aashna’s blood markers were dangerously low. Her bone marrow was 90%+ cancer cells already. As Aashna’s mother explained, “Cancer struck us out of nowhere.”
Since diagnosis, Aashna has had three cycles of intense chemotherapy, two cycles of immunotherapy and now starts a two-year chemotherapy cycle known as maintenance. Since starting maintenance, she has been able to return to school, where she was elected as one of the school counsellors by her classmates after a heated contest! She also loves to read and often gets selected as her class ‘Reading Hero’! She is trying her hand at school choir and attends the Thursday after-school music club on days she feels well.
If Aashna successfully finishes her treatment, she and her parents will live in constant fear of relapse. Her only hope would then be a stem cell transplant.
Aashna’s family are working with DKMS to encourage more people from minority ethnic backgrounds to register as potential stem cell donors so that all patients can have an equal chance at finding their lifesaving match.
Join the stem cell register today to give Aashna, and patients like her, the hope that one day they will find their lifesaver in waiting.