Little Chloe Gray brought a room to tears when she sang the words to Bob Marley song ‘Don’t Worry ‘About a Thing’ as she accepted a Sunderland Echo Child of Courage Award.
But what those watching in the audience didn’t know is that behind her smile and beautiful words, Chloe, seven, is facing a race against time to save her life as she awaits a bone marrow transplant.
Today, we are calling on Sunderland Echo readers to come forward and sign up to a donor register to see if they could be the one that could save her.
Proud mum Francesca Bowser, 27, from Silksworth, said she has been told by doctors that Chloe needs the transplant by the end of the year.
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The youngster was born with condition Diamond Blackfan Anaemia, rare bone marrow failure disorder, which means the bone marrow does not produce red blood cells properly.
Chloe is reliant on blood transfusions and had her first blood transfusion just 22 into the pregnancy.
Her only chance of a cure and a normal childhood is for a transplant.
Francesca said: “Chloe needs the transplant urgently to save her life.
“She has been having a blood transfusion every two weeks but there is a risk every time she has one as they cause a lot of problems with her body.
“There is a risk the body could reject them or she could have a bad reaction.
“So now we are facing a race against time to save her life.”
But there is no match on the donor register - and her family has launched a drive to encourage people to sign up.
No-one in Chloe’s family is a match, so her only hope is to find a complete stranger who is.
Chloe needs a 10/10 match for the best chance of survival, but mum Francesca say they have made the tough decision to accept a 9/10 match because of the race against time.
But such a transplant comes with increased risk.
Mum Francesca, who is married to dad Craig Bowser, and also has daughter Millie Gray, 11, said: “There is a 10% increase in the mortality rate with the 9/10 transplant, the percentage is not as high if it is 10/10.
“It was really hard decision to make, but we don’t have a choice.
“We are hoping to get people from all over the area and the North East to sign up to the register.”
The Plains Farm Primary School pupil, moved the audience to tears when she received her third Child of Courage Award for her bravery.
She finished the night with the uplifting rendition of the Bob Marley reggae classic to inspire other youngsters facing health battles.
Mum Francesca added: “Sometimes she doesn’t want to fight anymore but receiving the Child of Courage Award helps give her the drive to keep on going.
“It was so nice for her to have a night out and be away from hospital.
“The award is about how brave all the children are and she wanted to sing the song to tell people not to worry no matter what they are going through.
“I was crying when she received the award as it was so overwhelming.
“It was great to see how proud everyone was of each other.
“Chloe was over the moon to have won and had taken the award into school.”
The brave little girl is being supported by the Bradley Lowery Foundation who are helping to raise awareness of her urgent plight.
The family say they are hoping people will sign up to the DKMS register which has an upper age limit of 55, extending the pool of people who are able to donate.
Bradley’s mum Gemma urged people to sign up to the donor register at the awards evening.
She said: “We are trying to raise awareness and get as many people to sign up. “They may not be a match for Chloe, but could be a match for someone else.”
To join the register, visit www.dkms.org.uk
WE’RE CALLING ON YOU
Staff at the Echo are backing the campaign by signing up to join the register.
We are calling on readers and businesses to show their support by signing up to donate.
Their swab can potentially save a life.
We want to hear from businesses and readers who have signed up via the website by dropping us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
HOW TO DONATE
Visit the DKMS website to check whether you are eligible to sign up.
If you are eligible register your details and you will be sent a swap kit in the post.
Simply swap the inside of your cheek and send the kit back, once it has been received you will be on the register.