‘Help our baby live’

2012-10-22 00:00

A 10-MONTH-OLD baby girl from Empangeni, Tasha Lucas, desperately needs a bone marrow transplant, but no one in her family is a match.

At the moment, Tasha has to endure being hospitalised every two to three weeks for chemotherapy treatment, blood and platelet transfusion.

At five months, Tasha battled to feed properly and her parents initially thought she had developed an allergy to the milk, so they took her to the doctor.

But she was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) and a bone marrow transplant is her best hope for recovery.

Speaking to The Witness, Tasha’s father, Warren, said it hasn’t been easy, but they are keeping positive for their baby’s sake.

“It’s not easy to see her like that. All her veins have collapsed … But we can’t let her know because she’ll pick up on it.

“But she draws strength from her mother,” said Warren, adding that his wife, Isabel, has been determined to get through this.

He said his family, including two of his other children, have been tested, but unfortunately they are not a match for donation.

The South African Bone Marrow Registry has also been searched and no donor match was found.

Empangeni: How to be a donor

KwaZulu-Natal Sunflower Fund spokesperson Stephanie Berry said the chance of finding a bone marrow stem cell donor match is one in 100 000 and currently there are only just over 64 500 donors on the South African Bone Marrow Registry.

“It only takes two test tubes of blood to become a donor and if you are a successful match, the donor process is as painless as donating blood,” Berry explained.

She said bone marrow is no longer surgically removed, but additional white blood cells are harvested directly from the blood stream, much like donating blood or platelets.

“Donors must, however, be aware that they are joining the registry to help any patient in need of a transplant,” Berry added.

Warren said his daughter is now crawling and loves playing with blocks, but has not been exposed to a broad range of activity.

“But she’s recovering well.”

He pleaded with the community to assist them, and hopes many people will donate their blood for testing to see if they are a match.

You need to be between the ages of 18 and 45 and weigh over 50 kg. You can phone The Sunflower Fund’s toll free number (0800 12 10 82) and find out how to become a donor for anyone with a life threatening blood disorder in need of a transplant.

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