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‘She is just loving life’: Adeline Davidson looks forward to happy and healthy 2022

Adeline, 5, is "loving life" as she continues to recover after receiving a bone marrow transplant.
Adeline, 5, is "loving life" as she continues to recover after receiving a bone marrow transplant.

It has been just eight months since young Adeline Davidson received a lifesaving bone marrow transplant.

Now, the bubbly five-year-old is “loving life” as she looks forward to a happy and healthy new year.

Adeline’s parents Steph, 27, and Jordan, 30, endured an agonising two-year search to find a suitable donor for their daughter.

Describing the journey as a “never ending rollercoaster”, the Davidsons faced numerous delays and set-backs as they battled to save their daughter’s life.

Finally though their luck changed and a viable bone marrow donor was found overseas – allowing the Alness youngsters to undergo a transplant in April.

Since then Adeline has gone from strength to strength, reaching new and exciting milestones, including starting nursery.

In an exclusive interview, Mrs Davidson said her daughter is “loving life” as a “normal kid.”

‘She’s just being a normal kid’

“Adeline is doing brilliantly,” she said.

“Her blood counts are almost the same as a normal child’s numbers so she’s very close but she’s doing great.

“We have had a couple of bugs but her body has now got the immune system to fight it off. She’s not getting a temperature, she’s just being a normal kid. It’s just been amazing.

Adeline with her mum Steph and two-year-old sister Josie.

“She started nursery at the end of September and she’s just loving it. She was desperate to go and she needed it so I’m glad we put her in instead of waiting.

“You’re actually supposed to wait a year post-transplant before going to nursery but I think because of the delays and how long they had kept us, we had come to a compromise.”

She added: “It’s a lovely feeling. She comes back and sings all the songs that she has learned and tells us what she’s been doing with her new friends.

“It’s very emotional. She’s finally doing what she’s meant to be doing.”

To aid in her recovery, doctors continue to administer a host of extra medications in an effort to keep Adeline healthy.

Mrs Davidson said the focus now is simply to keep the youngster’s blood counts up.

She said: “The recovery stage we are in just now is simply making sure that nothing happens to those blood counts, that they are staying steady and building up and we can keep Adeline well.

“She’s on extra medication to prevent her from the horrible stuff, but she is just loving life.

“She still has her wee NG tube in because she’s still on medication but if the boys and girls ask her what it is she just says it’s for my medicine and she gets on with it. She is not shy about it, she’s not insecure, she just gets on with everything.”

Adeline’s lifesaving transplant

Following months of delays and complications, Adeline was finally admitted to Glasgow’s Royal Children’s Hospital where she underwent chemotherapy ahead of receiving her long-awaited bone marrow transplant.

The marrow was administered through transfusion under a 20-minute procedure in April.

Mum-of-three Mrs Davidson admits the search to find Adeline’s “lifesaver” now feels like a distant memory.

She said: “It doesn’t feel real. We waited for so long and had so many ups and downs and delays so now it’s actually happened, it just seems unbelievable. I just thought it was never going to happen.”


Following her transplant, the brave five-year-old and her mum were placed into isolation at the hospital for more than 70 days before being reunited with her family and returning home to the Highlands.

Since then, the family have discovered Adeline and her two-year-old sister Josie share a rare genetic gene.

The siblings were diagnosed with Swachman Diamond Syndrome and carry the rare genetic mutation dnajc21.

The 27-year-old says she dreads to think what could have happened if they didn’t strike lucky with finding a donor for Adeline.

“Without the transplant I dread to think where we would be,” Mrs Davidson added.

“That final match that we got, the donor that we used, it was obviously meant to be because we were really clutching at straws. There was no-one else on the register and then this guy popped up so I think it was meant to be.

“Now, we’re watching this little girl go to nursery and be happy and you kind of just forget. Looking at her you just think nothing was wrong, nothing happened.”

Reaching out to the donor

They are not allowed to make contact with the donor until April 2023, and even then Mrs Davidson is not sure if she’ll be able to put into words just how grateful the family is.

“The donors’ details are confidential until two years post-transplant.,” she said. “I think that is because it needs to give it time to make sure it is a successful transplant.

“After two years, if we ask for the donor’s information we can have it but at that point it’s still up to the donor whether they want to be contacted or communicate. At that point we definitely want to know who saved Adeline’s life.

“I think I would be overwhelmed and completely gobsmacked, just seeing this normal person that probably doesn’t know the enormity of what he has done. I don’t think there are words for that. I would just be starstruck.”

Mrs Davidson says she is looking forward to watching Adeline reach new milestones in the new year, including starting school.

Happy and healthy 2022

The Davidson family are now looking forward to “simply being normal” and watching Adeline celebrate new milestones, such as going horse riding, swimming and enjoying days at the beach and going up to primary school.

“It will definitely be great to start the new year not having to worry,” Mrs Davidson said.

“Every year for the past three years we have thought “oh, will we be in hospital this year, what’s going to happen now” but I know this year she will be absolutely fine. It’s a weight lifted off our shoulders.

“Adeline is starting school in the new year and anything and everything she wants to do, we can do. She should be getting her port out in spring, hopefully if everything’s gone well, and then it will be ticking things off as we go. Medicines, tubes and anything else will slowly and gradually come off.

“Next year is all good things. I’m just looking forward to just being normal.”

Little Adeline’s life has been transformed by the kindness of a stranger – can you do the same for another struggling family? Pic: Steph Davidson

‘Do your bit and be a hero’: Adeline’s family urge people to become donors

From day one of Adeline’s diagnosis, the Davidson family have actively been encouraging people to sign up to become a donor to save the lives of terminally ill children.

Individuals can pledge to become a stem cell or bone marrow donor or simply opt to donate blood at their local blood bank.

During her two-year search for a donor, Adeline endured more than 85 blood transfusions.

Mrs Davidson doesn’t understand why more people don’t sign up.

She said: “I think I’ll always keep passing on the message to become a donor. Anytime I see Anthony Nolan has put up a post, I will share it on Instagram. I think it will always come up in conversation.

“There is nothing holding you back. A lot of people say to me “I’m really scared of needles” and they don’t like giving blood because they’ll faint.

“If you think of what all the adults and children that are actually needing the products go through, it’s nothing.

“You are a lifesaver, whether giving blood, your stem cells or bone marrow you’re going to potentially save a life.

“I don’t understand why people don’t just do it. There is nothing more important than that. Do your bit and be the hero.”

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