A family who launched a worldwide appeal for a bone marrow donor in a bid to save their five-year-old daughter’s life are overjoyed after a stranger came forward to donate.
Mia Phipps was first diagnosed with leukaemia when she was 21-months-old but was given the all-clear in December last year after two and a half years of treatment.
But earlier this summer doctors told her mum and dad, Mandy, 28, and Chris, 29, that the disease had returned.
The parents then launched a desperate appeal in September to find a bone marrow donor in a heartbreaking bid to find a life-saving match.
And they were left delighted when doctors told them last week a stranger who was a “10/10” match had come forward – from Germany.
Mia has now been admitted to Sheffield Children’s Hospital in preparation for a transplant operation which is planned for next week
Today (Thurs) Mandy, of Anstey Heights, Leics., said: “It is really overwhelming that someone we have never met would do something so big to save my little girl.
“For him to agree to having an operation like this is really amazing.
“Mia just keeps taking it in her stride and keeps on smiling, we really are keeping everything crossed now it is successful.”
The donor has asked to remain anonymous but is understood to be a 30-year-old male.
He is due to have liquid marrow extracted on Tuesday (18/10) next week under general anaesthetic.
The marrow will then be immediately flown to Sheffield ready for Mia’s transplant next Thursday (20/10).
That will be followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy before she is kept in isolation in hospital for around six weeks.
Mandy, a retail worker, added: “It is really hard to describe our feelings when we were told about the match two weeks ago.
“I was so relieved that one had been found. It is amazing and it was very emotional.
“Of course we are very happy but we also know that this is just the start of a new chapter and the next few weeks will be quite gruelling.
“We are quite nervous and scared of what is to come.
“Even if the bone marrow is replaced there is still a 30-40 per cent chance of relapse in the first year.
“But we take each day as it comes. The response from people willing to be tested and the support we have had has been fantastic.”
Police officer Chris and Mandy has urged people to sign up to the Anthony Nolan Trust, which maintains a national database of donors.
Chris added: “We would really like to encourage more people to come forward and sign up to the donor register.
“We want to raise awareness of the need for bone marrow donors and also stress how easy it is to help someone like Mia.”
Tiff Lynch, chairman of the Leicestershire Police Federation, described the finding of a donor match as “fantastic news.”
She added: “We are not going to stop as friends and colleagues of the family want to continue pushing people to get themselves registered on the Anthony Nolan register