A mother from Fort William is calling for more people to sign up as potential stem cell donors after her daughter was diagnosed with an extremely rare cancer.
Sarah Purvis is a young mother from Fort William. Her daughter, Chloe Purvis, who is just nine years old, was diagnosed with MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome), a rare type of blood cancer, at the end of last year. The average age for someone to be diagnosed with MDS is 75 years old, so it’s extremely unusual for a child to receive this diagnosis.
Speaking about receiving Chloe’s diagnosis, Sarah said:
‘It was so overwhelming, a huge shock. You don’t ever expect to be told that your child has cancer, you don’t ever want to be told that.’
‘But Chloe’s been so amazing through it all, she’s never been scared or upset. When she was told that her hair would fall out, she just said, ‘it’s fine it will grow back’.
A worldwide search
Anthony Nolan have searched the worldwide stem cell register for a special stranger who could save Chloe’s life and they have found two potential matches, who will now go through further testing to confirm whether they are the best possible match.
The community have been coming out to show their support for Chloe, and the Fort William Football Club recently got in contact with Sarah, to let her know that the whole first team has signed up to the Anthony Nolan register.
Sarah said: “You don’t hear about Anthony Nolan enough so it’s important to encourage more people to sign up.”
‘A lifesaving match’
Amy Bartlett, Regional Development Manager for Scotland, said:
“While it’s heartbreaking to hear that Chloe will need to have a transplant, it’s great to hear that potential matches have been found.’
Every day, five people, like Chloe, will start their search for a matching stranger who might save their life, but sadly not everyone can find a lifesaving match. Joining the Anthony Nolan register is a simple process, it’s just a cheek swab but it could change the life of someone like Chloe.
We’re particularly calling on young men aged 16-30 to consider joining the Anthony Nolan register as young men provide 50% of all stem cell donations but make up just 18% of our register.”
Anthony Nolan recruits people aged 16-30 to the stem cell register as research has shown younger people are more likely to be chosen to donate. It also costs £40 to recruit each potential donor to the register, so Anthony Nolan relies on financial support.
To find out more about joining the Anthony Nolan register, or to find out more about the different ways you can support, visit anthonynolan.org/join