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Adeline Davidson marks one-year anniversary since lifesaving bone marrow transplant

Adeline has marked the first anniversary of her bone marrow transplant.
Adeline has marked the first anniversary of her bone marrow transplant.

It’s been a year like no other for little Adeline Davidson after receiving her long-awaited bone marrow transplant.

The five-year-old’s life was transformed one year ago after undergoing the lifesaving procedure.

The milestone marked the end of a rollercoaster two years for Steph, 28, and Jordan, 30, Davidson in securing a suitable donor for their daughter.

One year on, Adeline’s mum says she can’t believe how her family’s life has changed.

She said: “I can’t believe it’s been a year already, that’s just crazy.

“Even now thinking back, we were waiting two years for that transplant and she had over 100 transfusions.

Adeline, 5, is loving life, 12 months on from her transplant.

“Coming away from that, she hasn’t had a transfusion since August last year, so that is a complete change in her life as well. That was our normal.

“It’s just crazy to think that’s what we did every week.”

Beginning of a new life chapter

The youngster was admitted to hospital in Glasgow to undergo numerous days of taxing chemotherapy ahead of her transplant.

The marrow was administered through transfusion, with the whole procedure taking just over 20 minutes to complete.

However, doctors dealt them a devastating blow, revealing both Adeline and her two-year-old sibling Josie are suffering with Swachman Diamond Syndrome and carry the rare genetic mutation “dnajc21”.

Adeline eventually returned to the Highlands 100 days after her transplant. 

Adeline finally received her bone marrow transplant last year, ending a two-year search for a viable donor.

In September, Adeline marked her first major milestone as she began attending nursery in her hometown in Alness.

The couple say they are now looking forward to embracing a new normal; including watching young Adeline start primary school and embracing all life has to offer.

She added: “She’s doing normal stuff. She’s at nursery, she’s going to start P1 in August and ballet class as well.

“I don’t think there is anything really stopping her now. She’s still got her port in but removing that line will be the next big step for Adeline. She isn’t scared to do anything.

“I honestly think her life has completely changed. Before the transplant, her socialising was nurses and doctors because that’s all we were allowed to do. Her life is totally different now.”

Embracing a new normal

Mrs Davidson added: “I never thought it was going to happen, with all our setbacks I couldn’t see that vision of the future. I’m just so glad it’s changed for us all.

“We are looking forward to just being as normal as we can.”

Despite contracting a number of viruses over the course of the year, Adeline stayed relatively healthy.

She began attending nursery in September, six months after her transplant.

The 28-year-old mother-of-three confirmed the family even contracted Covid.

However, Adeline remained the healthiest of them all, avoiding temperatures and severe illness.

The family are now looking forward to starting the next chapter with Adeline as she continues to recover.

Although, Mrs Davidson said unfortunately they are not able to firmly close the book yet due to Josie’s ongoing health issues.

Mrs Davidson added: “She got her aspirate and if all is well with this, then we are looking at May time for her port to come out and then we are now looking at vaccinations as well.

“She has to basically restart because everything was wiped out so we’ve got a lot of vaccinations to go but once that is done, she’s basically living the normal life of a five-year-old girl.

“We’re closing a chapter on Adeline but we can’t close the book because of Josie.”

Inspiring people to become a donor

The Davidson family are continuing to share their story to encourage people to become bone marrow or blood donors.

Adeline endured more than 100 transfusions to help “keep her alive.”

Adeline received more than 100 blood transfusions during her recovery.

Her mum, Steph, says she will continue to spread the message.

She said: “Adeline herself has had over 100 transfusions. Not one time have we known who it was that kept her going and kept her alive. I just think, there are so many other kiddies the same and Josie herself might need transfusions.

“The girls unfortunately don’t have a lot of matches even worldwide so it’s something that I will keep talking about and to people I haven’t spoken to, to do it.

“I would say look it up, try and find someone that’s maybe done it before.

“I know there are people saving life’s because of what we have put out there. It feels like we are giving back.”

‘We’re closing a chapter on Adeline but we can’t close the book’

As Adeline continues to recover from her bone marrow transplant, her sister Josie’s health battles are just beginning.

However, Mrs Davidson says due to the rarity of their condition, there is just no telling what lies round the corner.

“Josie is still very small,” she said.

“She is basically the size of a one-year-old.

“Our main concern is that she’s not getting any bigger. Her bloods seems to be stable and they were saying from her last bone marrow aspirate that her marrow seems to be working really hard. We don’t know if that’s going to be a turning point and she will come back from that or if it is the beginning of something.

“As the girls have something so rare, there is no book, there is no guide or anybody to tell me anything even slightly reassuring, or telling me it will get better. There is just no telling whatsoever.”

With Josie sharing the same condition as Adeline, the family face the prospect of reliving their rollercoaster journey all over again to find Josie a suitable donor.

The mother-of-three added: “They have researched the register for her but the last time they did it, there wasn’t very many matches so it’s going to be the same situation.

“I think if it does come to it, then we are going to have to maybe widen our search, the same as we did with Adeline.

“At the moment, she is OK.”

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