Harrow Council holds swab test day to find life-saving stem cell match for Kaiya, 5

Harrow Council is throwing its weight behind an urgent campaign to find a stem cell donor to save the life of a five-year-old girl who has a rare and aggressive form of leukaemia.

It is calling on members of the public to join council staff and have a simple swab test on Tuesday June 5 at the Civic Centre.

The drive hopes to provide a match for brave little Kaiya Patel. If a donor cannot be found, the schoolgirl may have just weeks to live.

Simon Brown, Harrow Council Portfolio Holder for Adults and Public Health, said: “Whether you live, work or pass through Harrow, please spare a few minutes on Tuesday to come to the Civic Centre to help try to save brave Kaiya and others in a similar situation.

“The test is quick, simple and painless. Anyone could be the one match her family is desperately looking for – but you have to do the test to find out.

“Anything we can do to help raise awareness of blood cancers in important – but this time a little girl’s life depends on it.”

Council staff  have rallied round to organise the drop-in day with charity DKMS on Tuesday June 5.

Volunteers provide a pain-free swab sample from their cheek as part of the donation. DKMS registers people between the ages of 17-55 and they are on the register until their 61st birthday.

For the past two months Kaiya, who goes to school in nearby Northwood and enjoys running, gymnastics and ballet, has been having chemotherapy and steroid treatments.

She was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in March after her parents, Ruchit and Annu Patel, noticed bruising on her legs and bleeding gums.

But Mr and Mrs Patel fear they won’t be able to find a donor because none of her family members were a match and, due to her Asian ethnicity, she has a far lower-than-average chance of finding one.

They are asking people to have a swab test through charities Anthony Nolan and DKMS so she has the chance for a stem cell transplant.

Mr Patel said: “I was devastated when Kaiya was diagnosed. It’s heart-breaking, a huge punch in the gut. The strength of our little girl is inspiring and our friends and family have been a great source of strength.”

Around 650 people a year are diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in the UK – half of which are children.

The rare disease type compromises the immune system and clotting functions and is fatal without urgent medical attention.

The Civic Centre swab station open day will take place from 8.30am to 4pm on June 5.