People across Wearside came together in a show of support for a little girl facing a race against time for a lifesaving bone marrow transplant.
Seven-year-old Chloe Gray, from Silksworth, Sunderland, was born with condition Diamond Blackfan Anaemia, rare bone marrow failure disorder, which means the bone marrow does not produce red blood cells properly.
Her mum Francesca Bowser, 27, has been told by doctors that Chloe needs the transplant by the end of the year and has launched an urgent appeal to get people to sign up to the DKMS register to see if they could be a potential match to donate bone marrow.
Armed with sign-up swab kits, Chloe’s family were at the opening of the Kayll Road library in Sunderland yesterday calling for people to join the register.
Francesca said: “We were pleased with how things went and we had about 40 people sign up.
“It was good to be there and explain to people that I am her mum and the reason why she needs people to join.
“The campaign has helped Chloe to talk more openly about what is wrong with her and she has started telling people how they can help.”
Chloe is reliant on blood transfusions every two weeks, but there is a risk every time as the body could reject them or she could have a bad reaction.
Her only chance of a cure and a normal childhood is for a transplant after getting a donor match through the DKMS register, which has an upper age limit of 55.
At the event people simply swabbed the inside of their cheek and left the kits to be send back to the organisation which puts people on the register once it has been received.
Chloe needs a 10/10 match for the best chance of survival, but mum Francesca says they have made the tough decision to accept a 9/10 match – which means there is a 10% increase in the mortality rate – because of the race against time.
Mum Francesca, who is married to dad Craig Bowser, and also has daughter Millie Gray, 11, said there are a range of sign up events planned.
She said: “On Thursday, April 26, we will be at EDF Energy at Doxford Park; on Saturday, April 28, we will be at Silksworth ski slope, and on Friday, May 4, we will be at Npower in Rainton Bridge business park.
“We are also appealing for businesses to get involved.”
To join, visit www.dkms.org.uk