Teenager given weeks to live set for transplant in Sheffield after finding bone marrow donor in Germany

Amy Bartlett.  - SWNSAmy Bartlett.  - SWNS
Amy Bartlett. - SWNS
A teenage girl battling leukaemia has found a bone marrow donor in the nick of time after a “brutal” few weeks.

Amy Bartlett, 14, was previously told in July she had "just weeks" to find a suitable match after receiving the devastating news her cancer had returned for a second time.

However, a match has now been found in Germany with the transplant set to take place at Sheffield Children’s Hospital on September 7.

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Dad Leigh, 48, said the family is “delighted” with the good news and welcomed Amy back home yesterday (08/08) after being in hospital for seven weeks.

The father of two said: “So obviously good news is that we've had confirmation that they have found a match and the individual is suitable and willing to be a donor.

“That's all been sorted out but we obviously aren't allowed to talk to the donor. The only thing we know about them is that they live in Germany.

“We are going up to Sheffield on Thursday (13/08) to start the process of her doing checks and certain tests.

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“It is just to make sure that they get her prepared for the transplant. It is fantastic news and a real step forward for Amy and the whole family.

“To know that not only has a donor been found but they have passed all the medicals and they have confirmed their willingness to be a donor as well.

“It is fantastic and we actually received the news last weekend.”

The schoolgirl had been due to finish her two years of gruelling chemotherapy on 4 July but was given the crushing diagnosis the cancer had returned two weeks before.

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Her parents Leigh and Marie Bartlett, 51, desperately appealed for volunteers to sign up to the bone marrow register in a bid to find her a match.

Matters were complicated as NHS recruitment drives had stopped running due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Marie, a solicitor, and banking boss Leigh said it "ripped their hearts out" to tell their daughter she needed the transplant following her two year battle with the disease.

Upon being diagnosed at 12-years-old the "inspirational" youngster had said: "Mummy, it is ok – it’s better I get it than another smaller child.

"I am stronger and so have a better chance to beat it."

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Following her relapse, Leigh and Marie are urging people to join the register online via DKMS, The Anthony Nolan Trust or NHS British Bone Marrow Registry.

Marie said: "It ripped my heart out to tell her and hold her whilst trying to convince her that she had done it once and she could do it again.

"How do you tell your daughter, whose tiny body has been through so much already, that the cancer she has fought so hard to overcome had returned.”

Dad Leigh, CEO of Masthaven Bank, said: “She really does deserve a break after everything she's been through for the last two and a half years.

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"Amy is an inspiration. The way she has dealt with is has been amazing. As her father, I just want to do everything I possibly can.

“That's why I am speaking to as many people as I can, to spread the word and get as many people as we possibly can on the register.

Amy was described as being "playful, happy and energetic" before she was first diagnosed in February 2018 after complaining about aches and pains in her joints.

Her condition was categorised as high risk and she received the most intensive rounds of chemotherapy administered to children diagnosed with the disease.

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Leigh added: “There's no logical explanation of why she's got it, it's just one of those things. Some people get it.

“She embarked on pretty intensive chemotherapy, for the first three months.

“Because of the strain of leukaemia she had, it had to be very intensive. She lost all of her hair, lost a lot of her strength and basically had to be in a wheelchair.

“She wasn't strong enough to walk around. She also had some reactions to some of the chemotherapy.”

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There are around 10,100 new leukaemia cases in the UK every year and accounts for 30 per cent of all cancers diagnosed in children under 15 years of age.

To register to be a donor through the DKMS website visit here: https://www.dkms.org.uk/en/register-now

Alternatively, go to the Anthony Nolan Trust website at: https://www.anthonynolan.org/8-ways-you-could-save-life/donate-your-stem-cells