Sara’s condition quickly worsened. Doctors told her family she urgently needed a bone marrow transplant to survive.
But Sara’s unusual heritage – Ewa is Polish and her husband, Dereck, is from Zimbabwe – made finding a match tough. Anthony Nolan couldn’t find a donor anywhere in the world.
Thankfully, we had another option: our cord blood bank, where we store umbilical cord and placenta blood, rich in stem cells, that we can use for transplants.
A huge advantage of cord blood stem cells is that they don’t have to match the recipient as specifically as adult cells. They’re less mature and can develop to suit the recipient.
Sara had her cord blood transplant in August 2008 and was back at school by February 2009. She’s doing really well and enjoys playing the cello and looking after her younger brothers, Otis and Theo.
Ewa says: ‘Someone who we’ve never met donated their cord blood for our child. They gave Sara a chance to fight leukaemia and they saved her life.
‘We will be eternally grateful to every mother who donates their cord blood – it could save someone’s life like it saved our Sara.’
To speak to our press team about contacting Sara and Ewa, or another case study in your area, please call 020 7424 6588 (Out of hours: 0844 840 0103) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.