Arya, 12, 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 a 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 blood 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.