Boy, 4, may look fighting fit but only has months to live – unless you can save him – Mirror Online

Posted: August 12, 2020 at 3:54 pm

His name means brave in Hindi. And for four year-old Veer Gudhka that couldnt be more appropriate.

For while the bubbly little boy might look fighting fit, he actually has just months to live.

Veer suffers from a rare blood disorder called Fanconi anaemia, which results in a decreased production of all types of blood cells.

But a stem cell donor will save his life.

In a heartfelt video message, the plucky toddler asks Sunday Mirror readers: Please be my life-saver? Will you be my superhero?

And today his family are appealing to those from BAME communities to help by signing up to the Anthony Nolan stem cell register.

Mum Kirpa and dad Nirav know the odds are stacked against them getting that all-important call because they are of Indian descent.

While 69 per cent of Northern European patients find the best possible stem cell match from a stranger, this drops to just 20 per cent for those with black, Asian or ethnic minority backgrounds.

Currently only two per cent of the population is on the UK stem cell register.

And with Asians making up just six per cent of the UK population, there is a smaller pool of potential donors.

Veer was diagnosed with the blood disorder last August, after he started suffering from extreme fatigue, and was referred for tests.

Doctors said he would need a stem cell transplant within three years for a chance of survival.

They hoped to buy Veer some time by putting him on steroids to boost his blood counts. But his condition has deteriorated fast.

Recent tests at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London show he now has just three to four months to find a donor.

Kirpa and Nirav were both tested, along with Veers six-year-old sister Suhani, but none of them were a match.

A search on the global stem cell register also drew a blank.

And his dad has been trying to encourage his fellow countrymen and women in India to join the register.

They have even signed up a female battalion of the Indian Army.

Kirpa, 37, from Harrow, London, said: We just feel so scared were going to lose our cheeky, amazing little boy. To look at Veer you wouldnt know hes critically ill.

Like his name, hes been brave from the start. Hes undergone countless tests and hospital visits but has had a constant smile on his face.

"He knows he needs a superhero to step forward, but his optimism and enthusiasm are infectious and keep us all going.

She added: Going on the register is incredibly quick and donating cells if you match someone in need is painless.

You can join the Anthony Nolan stem cell register today.

Nine out of 10 people donate their stem cells through the bloodstream in a simple IV process called peripheral blood stem cell collection.

One in 10 will have their stem cells collected via the bone marrow itself, while under general anaesthetic. Doctors transplant the new, healthy cells via the patients bloodstream, where they begin to grow and create healthy red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.

A perfect match from a donor can mean a lifelong cure.

Veers dad Nirav, 40, said: I only learned about the Anthony Nolan stem cell register two years ago and even then I assumed it would involve long and painful procedures.

We need to raise awareness to save lives in every community.

Continued here:
Boy, 4, may look fighting fit but only has months to live - unless you can save him - Mirror Online

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