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Heartbreak for family of cancer-stricken four-year-old as stem cell donor falls ill at last minute

Adeline Davidson was due to undergo surgery this week, however the procedure has been postposed until March after her donor fell ill.
Adeline Davidson was due to undergo surgery this week, however the procedure has been postposed until March after her donor fell ill.

A desperate family is facing a nervous wait after a stem cell donor finally found to give their four-year-old daughter a new chance at life fell ill.

Little Adeline Davidson has been waiting more than two years for the procedure to treat a rare form of blood cancer, and several arrangements with donors have fallen through during that time.

The Alness youngster had been due to undergo the procedure in Glasgow this week after it appeared that the search for a match had eventually come to an end.

But the family encountered yet another setback as the transplant was cancelled when the stem cell donor fell ill.

Adeline’s parents Steph, 26, and Jordan, 28, say their daughter’s fate now hangs in the balance as they face an agonising wait to find out what is wrong with the donor.

They say the plans could be thrown into disarray – with top level talks and a possible world-first procedure required – if tests show that the illness is Covid-related.

The family will only be able to find out the nature of the donor’s condition after he is operated on and the cells removed.

If the donor has coronavirus, a team of international surgeons will assemble to debate whether it would be safe for Adeline to undergo the transplant.

Mrs Davidson said: “We have been waiting more than two whole years for our ill child to get a bone marrow transplant.

“The hospital have told me that the donor has to donate, and then they release the information on the cause of his illness.

“If it is Covid, that would mean they would have to ask international doctors and surgeons if they could go ahead.

“They have never given a child that’s Covid-negative marrow from someone who is Covid-positive.

“If they decide not to proceed, we are back to looking for someone else to begin the search again, which is just a crazy, horrible thought. I don’t even want to think about it.”

Mrs Davidson added that she would consider going ahead even if the cells have come from someone with coronavirus.

She said: “I think we have to go with the doctor’s word, but I’d be so frightened.

“We wouldn’t have another choice though, unfortunately.

“If they, as professionals, believe doing it would outweigh the risks, we would just have to believe that too.”

Two year rollercoaster ride

Over the last two years, Adeline has endured around 85 blood transfusions, one anaphylactic shock and emergency helicopter and ambulance transfers to hospital.

Adeline with her mum Steph.

Mrs Davidosn added: “There is potential for even worse news but we just hope that it isn’t Covid he has.

“If it isn’t Covid, then everything moves along as it was meant to be.

“We are aware that on the register there was no-one else, so we were lucky this guy popped up.”

If all goes well, Adeline will receive her transplant in four weeks.

The latest setback comes almost two years to the day since her transplant journey began.

In December, the family were dealt a devastating blow as health officials postponed her procedure, scheduled to take place in January, due to Brexit complications.

The four-year-old requires a specific type off marrow, processed by a centre outwith the UK, which is then brought to the country by road.

Life-saving transplant for Highland youngster postponed due to delays caused by Brexit

Early last year, the family were forced to turn to the register and launch a public appeal in search for multiple new donors due to an array of complications.

Mrs Davidson praised Adeline’s resilience but admits it breaks her heart to not be able to see her daughter progress onto school in August.

She said: “The first year I was so positive – let’s get on with it, this needs done – and I never thought ‘why us?’

“I just thought we have so much to be grateful for and thankful for.

“However, the whole of the second year, I’m just thinking is someone messing with us because that’s what it feels like.”

She added: “Adeline’s been so good. She hardly complains and I just think it’s because she has no idea what’s she’s missing, which is sort of a good thing but sad.

“She is lucky that’s she’s an outgoing kid. She is behind, she has not socialised and although she is switched on, she’s probably not as far on as her peers.

“Even now, she should have been staring primary one in August this year but she’s not even been to nursery. It’s hellish.”

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