Little Adeline Davidson is an “energetic ball of fun” – but the brave two-year-old needs a blood transfusion every week just to stay alive.
Unbeknown to her, she already owes her life to more than 120 strangers who have donated blood in the past three months, and her devastated parents know she will need a lot more in the months to come.
The Ross-shire tot has a blood cancer so rare it affects only one in every 250,000 children – and her only hope of a cure is a bone marrow transplant.
Her parents, Jordan and Stephanie, from Alness, have been informed that 15 potential donors have been found around the world, although none are a perfect match.
But while these donors undergo further tests to establish which is the best one for Adeline, who is among only 7% of the UK population to have her blood type, she is relying on the kindness of strangers to keep her condition stable.
Without new blood every week, the tot is susceptible to infection, a cut could leave her bleeding out and a bump to the head could cause internal bleeding.
This is because Adeline’s bone marrow fails to produce red and white blood cells, as well as platelets, the blood component that aids clotting.
Grateful Mrs Davidson, 25, said: “For every bag of platelets she gets it takes at least 20 donors. So far she’s had 10 transfusions – six or seven bags of platelets and three or four bags of red blood cells.
“It’s really important that people keep donating – it only takes five minutes and that’s keeping Adeline stable.”
But her parents know the tot’s only hope of beating the illness is a bone marrow transplant. Until that happens they are continuing their plea for as many people as possible to join the bone marrow register.
She said: “Even though Adeline’s got 15 donors none are a 100% match to her. I wish it could be compulsory for everyone to join the register.”
The family’s nightmare began in February when the health visitor recommended Adeline have a routine blood test to check her iron levels, as she looked pale.
Two hours after her blood was tested her parents received a call to say her levels were abnormally low.
And just 10 days later, they were dealt the devastating news that she had an extremely rare form of blood cancer called myelodysplasia.
The condition mainly affects those over the age of 65 and occurs when the bone marrow produces abnormal blood cells, leaving patients unable to fight infection and at risk of bleeding out.
Mrs Davidson said: “We were absolutely devastated. At first I didn’t think they were right. She was so full of energy. It was the last thing I imagined.”
To join the bone marrow register, visit anthonynolan.org/join