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Video appeal unearths stem cell donor to help Belfast girl Alara Basturk in leukaemia battle

By Victoria O'Hara

Published 24/12/2015

Battler: Little Alara
Battler: Little Alara

The family of a little girl diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukaemia are celebrating after a match was found in their search for a stem cell donor.

Six-year-old Alara Basturk from Belfast was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia three years ago. After undergoing chemotherapy she went into remission but unfortunately she relapsed in August.

Her parents Susan and Kemal were told the devastating news that she needed a blood stem cell donation to survive.

Only 60% of those in need of a blood stem cell donation find a donor with a perfectly matching tissue type.

A video of Alara's emotional appeal, which was supported by Delete Blood Cancer UK, went viral and thousands of generous people have already supported the campaign.

Within days hundreds of people had swabbed the inside of their cheeks to register as potential donors.

Special blood drives were also held across Northern Ireland after the family appealed for help.

Her mother Susan urged the public to keep supporting her daughter in a desperate bid to find a match.

She told the Belfast Telegraph that finding the match "was the only hope" for her daughter.

"You have to hold on to the hope," she said.

The good news was broken on Wednesday through their Facebook page when they confirmed a suitable match has been found.

The post said: "Hey guys and girls, just a wee update for Alara. A match HAS been found and Alara will be going to Bristol the first week in January for the process to start.

"I want to thank everyone for your support over the last few months and would ask could you keep Alara in your prayers for the next few months as it will be very tough on her."

Had a match not been found little Alara possibly faced another round of chemotherapy.

Belfast Telegraph

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