'She's a fighter' - Brave Sunderland schoolgirl with rare blood disorder receives life-saving transplant after three year search
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Chloe Gray was born with Diamond Blackfan Anaemia (DBA) – a condition which means her body doesn’t produce red blood cells – and had to have regular blood transfusions to stay alive.
The brave youngster needed an urgent blood stem cell donation to save her life and now she has finally received the transplant at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI).
The transplant took place over the course of two days on June 1 and June 2 and saw Chloe spend more than eight weeks in isolation in hospital to protect her vulnerable immune system.
But Chloe – who celebrated her 11th birthday in hospital a week after the transplant – was finally allowed to return home on Tuesday, July 20 with parents Francesca and Craig Bowser.
Mum Francesca, 30, said: “It has been quite tough and she has been quite poorly for a lot of it, but she fought as she always does.
"It was really, really, hard to see her go through it but it was worth it in the end when you get her home and you can feel a bit of normality.”
Chloe’s transplant came after her parents launched a campaign called ‘A Hero For Chloe’, to encourage people to sign up to the DKMS register to increase her chances of finding a donor.
An incredible 9/10 donor match was found in August 2019 and Chloe was due to receive the transplant in April 2020 – but when the coronavirus pandemic hit the UK in March last year, her treatment had to be postponed indefinitely.
Nearly a year later, in February 2021, Chloe's parents were finally told the news they were praying for – that their daughter’s transplant was finally able to go ahead.
The procedure saw Chloe admitted into hospital on May 21 where she received three different types of chemotherapy before she underwent the stem cell transplant that will build her immune system back up.
Now back at home, Chloe is still in isolation to protect her from picking up an infection and has to have daily medication.
Mum Francesca said: "The doctors were amazing – when we saw them at the clinic they said they are really proud of Chloe, she couldn’t be doing any better at this point.
“We are just so proud of her, like she does with everything, she has done amazing.”
But although Chloe has now received her treatment, her parents have vowed to continue their campaign for people to sign up to the DKMS register in the hope it will help to save other lives.
Mum Francesca added: “We just want to remind people that even though Chloe got her transplant there are other people who are waiting for theirs.
“We won’t stop campaigning just because Chloe has her treatment because other people still need theirs.
"We will still be using Chloe’s Facebook page to encourage people to sign up.”