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Belfast family's video appeal to help save little Alara's life

By Victoria O'Hara

Published 06/10/2015

Six-year-old Alara Basturk from Belfast, who is battling leukaemia, shines a light during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
Six-year-old Alara Basturk from Belfast, who is battling leukaemia, shines a light during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
Stills from the family’s video appeal, which can be seen on YouTube
Stills from the family’s video appeal, which can be seen on YouTube

The family of a little girl battling leukaemia have launched an emotional video appeal for people across Northern Ireland to help save her life and register as a potential blood stem cell donor.

Six-year-old Alara Basturk from Belfast was diagnosed three years ago and went into remission after undergoing chemotherapy. Unfortunately, she relapsed in August and her parents have been told that she needs a blood stem cell donation to survive.

Now, through a heartfelt video telling Alara's story to her favourite Frozen soundtrack, her parents with the charity Delete Blood Cancer have launched the search.

Susan and Kemal Basturk have spoken of their devastation when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia at the age of three. But they are determined to find someone with a matching tissue-type who can donate some of their blood stem cells to her.

As only 60% of those in need of a blood stem cell donation find a donor with a perfectly matching tissue-type, her parents are appealing for more people to register as potential donors to increase the chances of finding a match for Alara and all those seeking a donor.

Susan said: "We would love if everyone could please register.

"It is killing us seeing our baby girl going through this.

"We just want her to get better. Anyone out there could be a match, so please, please register today. You could possibly save a child's life."

Speaking about the moment they were told about her diagnosis, Susan said: "Nobody really knows what it is like to experience your child being diagnosed and see them endure rigorous treatment plans unless you have gone through it yourself. We endured weeks spent on a hospital ward and many sleepless nights. The family was exhausted."

Emphasising the importance of registering as a potential blood stem cell donor to increase the chances of children like Alara finding a donor, Deirdra Taylor from Delete Blood Cancer UK said: "It is so easy to register as a potential blood stem cell donor, it literally takes minutes, but it could lead to you giving years or decades to someone else. That person could be Alara or someone else."

Stills from the family’s video appeal, which can be seen on YouTube
Stills from the family’s video appeal, which can be seen on YouTube
Stills from the family’s video appeal, which can be seen on YouTube
Six-year-old Alara Basturk from Belfast, who is battling leukaemia, shines a light during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

You can register in five minutes online and request a cheek swab kit that will enable you to do your own tissue test to go on the database to maybe one day become a blood stem cell donor and save the life of someone like Alara through the Delete Blood Cancer UK website: www.deletebloodcancer.org.uk.

Belfast Telegraph

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