7 year old Ayesha Siddiqui was diagnosed with rare form of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), called Philadelphia Positive in April 2011. She lives in Glasgow.
She has been on chemotherapy for almost a year. Her response to chemotherapy was positive in the beginning but after a second round of intensive chemotherapy in January 2012 her liver became dysfunctional.
Her only hope for survival is to find a bone marrow donor. Her courage and bravery keeps her family going and makes them even more determined to continue helping her to fight the cancer.
So far a million matches have been tried with no luck. Sadly, while 90% of Northern European patients will find a match, the chances of finding matched donors for patients from an ethnic minority background are woefully low.
Ayesha is half caucasian and half Middle Eastern so her best chance is with someone half caucasian and half Middle Eastern/North African. Her family and friends are trying to help all over the world by educating people of different ethnic groups to register as donors. The campaigns can help save lives of many others, especially in other ethnic groups to find a match.
Once a ball of energy who loved gymnastics, music and art, swimming and football, Ayesha now has to endure life in a bubble - one where there is little time for fun.
During the Easter school holidays in 2011, Ayesha was complaining of a head cold, looked a little pale and had very little energy. Three weeks later she was diagnosed with leukaemia and has now been on chemotherapy for 10 months.
Ayesha did not return to school until September 2011 and now only attends if she has the energy and is fit to do so for an average of 2 hours a day. She cannot attend any of her friends' birthday parties that are at indoor soft play areas, and even in family gatherings her family have to be careful that no one has an infection because of the risk of her getting it.
Despite missing so much of school, she has been exposed to another kind of education. Her language skills have been extended to include words like cancer, bone marrow biopsy, Hickman line and platelet transfusions. Her numerical skills focus on her blood counts, temperature and the number of tablets (chemotherapy, antibiotics and steroids) she has to take on a daily basis.
Despite this, Ayesha maintains a positive outlook, loves princess stories, Horrid Henry and Ben 10. If she could, she would spend her days wearing sparkly dresses and her beloved silver high heel sandals...what girl would not?"
Her father Nadeem, who is a cancer specialist in Glasgow, specifically appealed for members of Glasgow's mixed race and ethnic communities to help. Nadeem said, "We want anyone from an ethnic minority background to come forward and join the register, because they could be the match for someone like Ayesha and help save a life. We have been so touched by the generosity of people in Glasgow, Britain, and across the world. There has been a tremendous response to Ayesha's appeal. But we still need to get as many people as possible to get tested."
Her aunts and uncle in the US have reached out to the Arab-American and Jewish American community since they are more likely to be a match. They have started a Facebook page with Ayesha's story and list of bone marrow drives. CLICK HERE to visit the facebook page.
CLICK HERE to register as a donor via the ACLT to help Ayesha. Thank You