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Little Alara Basturk (6) back in Belfast and free from cancer after video appeal finds lifesaving stem cell donor

By Laura Abernethy

Published 19/05/2016

Alara Basturk shines a light during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
Alara Basturk shines a light during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
Alara and mum Susan
Battler: Little Alara

A little girl who found a stem cell donor through a social media appeal has returned to Belfast after receiving weeks of treatment.

Alara Basturk (6) from Belfast was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia three years ago. After undergoing chemotherapy she went into remission but unfortunately she relapsed in August last year.

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

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 and over 12,000 people signed up.

A video of Alara's emotional appeal, which was supported by Delete Blood Cancer UK, went viral and in December, Alara’s parents revealed that a match had been found.

She flew to Bristol to receive treatment in January and had remained in England throughout her transplant and subsequent treatment.

This week, a post on her Facebook page said: “My wee super hero is back in Belfast all going well and she is happy to be home.”

In March, her mum posted: “Alara had her MRD results (MRD is a test to count the number of cancer cells in her blood ). In March when Alara, when into remission, her count was 0.05, which I was told was very good. When the cancer came back it was up to 100% cancer cells so now the number is 0.00. I am so pleased to tell every one that Alara now has no cancer cells at all in her blood.

“We are still in hospital as Alara has got hemorrhagic cystitis. She is in a lot off pain and passing blood when she pees and nothing can treat it but her own body. We are just waiting on her making her own white blood cells so we can get on the road to recovery.”

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