Date set for Sunderland youngster Chloe Gray to undergo life-saving transplant after covid delayed vital treatment
A date has finally been set for a courageous little girl battling a rare blood disorder to undergo a life-saving stem cell transplant.
Chloe Gray 10, was born with Diamond Blackfan Anaemia (DBA) – a condition which means her body doesn’t produce red blood cells.
The Sunderland youngster has to receive regular blood transfusions to stay alive and has been in urgent need of a blood stem cell donation.
An incredible 9/10 match was found in August 2019 following a two-year campaign called ‘A Hero For Chloe’ which aimed to encourage people to sign up to the DKMS register to increase her chances of finding a donor.
Chloe was due to have the transplant at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in April 2020, but when the coronavirus pandemic hit in March 2020, it was postponed indefinitely.
But now Chloe's delighted parents, Francesca and Craig Bowser have finally been given the news they were praying for – that Chloe’s transplant will go ahead this year, taking place over the course of two days on June 1 and June 2 at the RVI.
Mum Francesca, 30, said: "We thought the transplant would be postponed, we were expecting it so it wasn’t a shock but it wasn’t the greatest news.
“We found out about the new date in around February or March time while she was in hospital to have an operation to have her gallbladder out.
"We are feeling a mix of nerves and excitement about the transplant because we just want it to happen but it is quite a rough thing to go through.”
The procedure will see Chloe admitted into hospital on May 21 where she will undergo three different types of chemotherapy before she is given the stem cells that will build her immune system back up.
Chloe will spend up to 12 weeks in hospital with her parents by her side before being allowed home where she will remain in isolation until her immune system is developed.
During her time in hospital Chloe will be on medication to stop her body rejecting the stem cells.
Ahead of the transplant, Chloe has had some of her ovaries frozen to increase her chances of having children when she is older because the chemotherapy affects her fertility.
The brave youngster has also shaved her head ahead of her treatment and has undergone multiple tests to ensure she is well enough to undergo the procedure.
Parents Francesca and Craig couldn’t be prouder of her daughter’s courage and will be staying with Chloe at the RVI throughout her transplant.
Francesca said: “We are so proud of her, she has been amazing.
“Chloe will have her 11th birthday in hospital on June 9 but the good thing is that she will get an address in hospital so the family will be able to send her cards and stuff, so that will be lovely.”
In anticipation of her returning home, dad Craig, 37, has been fundraising via Chloe’s Facebook page to cover the cost of work to improve the family’s garden where Chloe will spend most of her time in isolation.
Work will include building a seating area that can be accessible by wheelchair.
Francesca added: “We want to do it up so she has somewhere nice outside where she can sit when she comes home as we will not be allowed out, so we want her to have a nice area for her to enjoy.”
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