Margot Martini: Parents Launch Donor Days

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Sky News

The father of a one year old girl desperately sick with an extremely rare form of Leukaemia has told Sky News time is running out to find her a stem-cell donor.

Margot Martini’s form of leukaemia is so rare her consultant haematologist has only seen three such cases in the last decade and her parents are making a world-wide appeal to find someone with the right tissue type to save her life.

A moving online appeal has prompted thousands of responses but the perfect match has still not been found for Margot, who is on her third round of chemotherapy since being diagnosed with the disease last year.

Margot Martini
Margot with parents Vicki and Yasser and her two brothers

Her father Yasser told Sky News: “Margot needs to receive a stem-cell donation from someone with a similar tissue type as hers. So we are on a worldwide search for a donor – and unfortunately, without much luck to date.”

Margot’s form of leukaemia has “dual lineage”, which means she has acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and acute myeloid leukaemia.

Her best chance of beating the disease is to undergo a bone marrow transplant, for which she needs to receive a stem cell donation from someone with a similar tissue type as hers.

Margot Martini
Donors are urged to wear pink bracelets to raise awareness of her plight

But because her leukaemia is so rare it is particularly hard to find a stem-cell donor with the correct tissue type, as doctors are unable to target specific ethnic groups or communities.

Instead, Margot’s parents are asking donors to come forward, by organising a national “donor drive”, where volunteers register in the hope that among them doctors can find the perfect match.

Applicants have been asked to request saliva swab kits which they can use at home or to register as stem-cell donors at one of a number of designated medical centres on one of three “donor days”.

A week after launching the campaign, Delete Blood Cancer UK say they have received more than 12,000 requests for swab kits, a number equal to 2.5% of the existing UK stem-cell database owned by the Anthony Nolan Trust.

Mr Martini said: “It is like oxygen to us that there has been this initial impact but we are still seeking a perfect match.

“To increase our chances of finding this person we are holding two events with Delete Blood Cancer UK, one in London and one in Wolverhampton, to develop awareness and drum-up even more people to sign-up to be potential donors.”

:: Margot’s parents will be on Sky News at 8.15am. Watch live on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602, Freeview channel 82 and Freesat channel 202.

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