Update: Emilia is back at home with her family, following her successful stem cell transplant. Emilia's family is immensely grateful for the selflessness of her donor and the support the family has received.
Emilia's father, James tells us about Emilia:
My youngest daughter Emilia is five-years-old. She loves music and dancing and she is learning to play the drums. Each week she and her big sister Ellie, aged 10, attend Amelia’s Dance Academy in Redditch.
In May 2023, Emilia was diagnosed with aplastic anaemia.
Emilia’s illness and the short-term treatment she is receiving mean she misses out on many things a normal five-year-old would usually do. Emilia tires very quickly and bruises easily; she often also suffers from a serious rash. Every week she must undergo blood and platelet transfusions, which leave her with scars from the needles and canula required for each transfusion. The transfusions can only be short-term treatment as it is very damaging for anyone to receive so many transfusions – it often leads to severe liver damage.
We are lucky that Emilia’s illness was spotted quickly; she is now receiving some great treatment, but this will only help sustain her life in the short term.
The best way of treating the illness is for Emilia to receive a stem cell/bone marrow transplant from someone who is a suitable match. We are greatly appreciative of anyone who is willing to be tested to help Emilia and others like her with these devastating conditions.
If we are lucky and find a match for Emilia then she has a long painful road ahead. She will receive chemotherapy just like a cancer patient in order to kill off her existing stem cells/bone marrow. This will mean months in hospital on a children’s cancer/oncology ward, as she will have no immune system and be susceptible to infection whilst receiving treatment.
Once she receives the transplant then it will be another few months in hospital to ensure that the new cells properly integrate and function as they should - effectively regrowing her bone marrow so she can produce blood products herself as any normal child does.
We have been tested as a family and are awaiting the results. However, we are keen to ensure that we can find a suitable match and hopefully help others do the same by encouraging more people to get tested and join the blood stem cell register.
Every 14 minutes, someone in the UK is diagnosed with a blood cancer or disorder. You could be their lifesaver if you’re aged 17-55 and in generally good health.
Please sign up to be a blood stem cell donor. Not just for children like Emilia but for millions around the world suffering from blood diseases, cancers and immunodeficiency who need transplants.
You could be someone’s second chance at life.