UK & World News
Parents Of Girl With Rare Cancer Launch Appeal
The parents of a one-year-old girl desperately sick with an extremely rare form of leukaemia have told Sky News time is running out to find her a stem cell donor.
Margot Martini's form of leukaemia is so rare her consultant haematologist has only seen three cases in the last decade.
Her parents Yaser, 43, and Vicki, 38, from Roehampton, southwest London, are making an urgent, worldwide appeal to find someone with the right tissue type to save her life.
A moving online appeal has prompted thousands of responses, but the perfect match has still not been found.
Margot - who has two brothers, Oscar, six, and five-year-old Rufus - has spent the last 100 days being treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.
She is on her third round of chemotherapy after being diagnosed with the disease when she was 14 months old.
Mr Martini, a chartered surveyor in the pub and restaurant industry, told Sky: "Margot needs to receive a stem cell donation from someone with a similar tissue type as hers. So we are on a worldwide search for a donor - and unfortunately, without much luck to date."
Margot's form of leukaemia has "dual lineage", which means she has acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and acute myeloid leukaemia.
Her best chance of beating the disease is to undergo a bone marrow transplant.
Mr Martini added: "Her tissue type is not uncommon, so a match could literally come from anywhere. We're asking people to do something amazing: Register. Swab. Save a life. It could be Margot's or someone else's.
"We embarked on this donor appeal knowing there was only a slim chance of finding a perfect match for Margot, but that's better than no chance."
Mrs Martini added: "We feel like we need to do everything we can for her. We don't want to look back and think we haven't done everything we can.
"If you are prepared to take blood, stem cells or an organ from someone else, you should be prepared to give it back as well."
They are asking donors to come forward, by organising a national "donor drive", where volunteers register in the hope that doctors can find the perfect match.
Applicants have been asked to request saliva swab kits which they can use at home or to register as stem cell donors at one of a number of designated medical centres on one of three "donor days".
A week after launching the campaign, Delete Blood Cancer UK said it had received more than 12,000 requests for swab kits.
Mr Martini said: "It is like oxygen to us that there has been this initial impact, but we are still seeking a perfect match."
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