Four-year-old Myla-Mae Hatcher, of Woodhouse,Â woke up with unusual bruises on her body in December last year. Concerned, her mum, Danielle, rushed her to the emergency department at Sheffield Children's Hospital, where they found the platelet count and red blood cells in her blood was low, while the white blood cells were non-existent. Doctors conducted a biopsy which found that Myla's bone marrow was completely empty and she was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder called Aplastic Anemia.Â The condition '“Â which affects only 30-40 children each year in the UK '“ occurs when the bone marrow and stem cells do not produce enough blood cells.
Myla was added to the Bone Marrow Registry and the search for a match began. In the meantime, the family visited the cancer ward at Sheffield Children's Hospital twice a week for blood and platelet transfusions to keep the youngster going. As Myla lacked an immune system strong enough to resist infection, the family were confined to their house between hospital visits to prevent her catching a potentially fatal infection.
'My husband quit his job and we lived in isolation with our only respite the back and forth to Sheffield Children's Hospital,' said Danielle.
'The worst part was seeing Myla unable to do the things every four year old loves at Christmas,Â visiting Santa and seeing her friends.'
After three months of waiting, Myla's donor was finally found in February this year.
'He's a 21 year old man, that's all we know,' Danielle said.
'Myla always says '˜My donor saved my life with his special blood' and that's exactly what he did. One day I hope we can meet him and let him know how grateful we are.'
'One year on, Myla has started school and she is now able to mix with other children.'
The family is now backing an appeal to expand the emergency department and cancer wardÂ which treated Myla.Â The emergency department is built to see a maximum of 32,000 patients a year, but now sees close to 60,000.Â The Â£4.5m renovation will see the waiting room expand to four times its current size, with more treatment, consultancy and examination rooms.
The cancer ward treats up to 100 children a year from as far south as Northampton. The transformed ward would create private rooms with en-suite facilities alongside larger bed bays and more isolation rooms.
Danielle added: 'We will be raising funds for the rest of our lives to say thank you for Myla's care.'Â but if we can also inspire others to donate a few pounds or dress up as an elf, we know what a difference it will make to other children in the same situation.'
Abbie Pervin, regional fundraising manager at The Children's Hospital Charity, said: 'This December, we're calling on our supporters to get together and dress up in something elfy to keep our patients healthy! By dressing up for the day, you can make a huge difference to young patients Myla for years to come.'
To sign up for National Elf Service and help transform Sheffield Children's Hospital, visit www.tchc.org.uk today.
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