Trans­plant girl, 4, wants to be nurse

Bangor Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Shane Brennan

A YEAR ago Daisy Smullen was a very poorly lit­tle girl.

But 12 months on from her life-sav­ing bone mar­row trans­plant she is look­ing for­ward to a brighter fu­ture.

Daisy, four, from Ban­gor, was just three years old when she be­came sick with a mys­tery ill­ness.

She dis­played all the signs of cancer but doc­tors at Liver­pool’s Alder Hey Hos­pi­tal could not de­ter­mine a def­i­nite di­ag­no­sis.

Daisy’s mother, Kelly, 19, said: “It started in Novem­ber 2015.

“She went into Alder Hey with a stom­ach bug and a fever and no one could work out what was wrong with her but she got bet­ter and was let out.

“Then a few weeks later in Jan­uary it started again and she ended up in in­ten­sive care.

“She had all the symp­toms of cancer but noth­ing was show­ing.”

Even­tu­ally she was di­ag­nosed with hemophago­cytic lym­pho­his­ti­o­cy­to­sisor (HLH) – a rare con­di­tion that af­fects the im­mune sys­tem.

Af­ter she was di­ag­nosed Daisy re­ceived chemo­ther­apy for a few weeks.

Kelly, a car­rier of the gene, said she felt guilty about pass­ing a mu­tated form of the gene that causes HLH onto her daugh­ter.

She said: “They found out it was me that car­ried it so I felt aw­ful. Ev­ery one in 112 peo­ple carry the mu­ta­tion. Both me and Pa­trick, her father, carry it so it was al­most in­evitable but I felt so guilty.”

Doc­tors told the fam­ily Daisy needed a bone mar­row trans­plant and last July a ten out of ten match was found for her in Ger­many. By now the young­ster was be­ing treated at Manch­ester Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal.

Kelly said: “It was all very quick, they had to start straight away. It was an eight-week pro­ce­dure. Your bone mar­row is like your im­mune sys­tem so she had to have in­ten­sive chemo­ther­apy.”

While Daisy was be­ing treated, Kelly found out she was preg­nant with her sec­ond child and last year Jorgie, a lit­tle sis­ter for Daisy was born.

“I didn’t know how to re­act. I just got on with it,“said Kelly.

Dur­ing Daisy’s time at the hos­pi­tal in Manch­ester she and her mother de­vel­oped a strong bond with staff.

“The staff at the hos­pi­tal were so good they re­ally gave us the sup­port we needed and Daisy has said that she wants to be a nurse when she grows up.”

And as Kelly and Daisy cel­e­brate a year on from her life-sav­ing treat­ment she has a mes­sage for donors.

She said: “What they do is amaz­ing. With­out a donor Daisy would not be here to­day.

“Ev­ery donor is a match for some­one else.

“So ev­ery­one should think about do­ing it be­cause they will save some­body’s life.”

Daisy with mum Kelly Hughes and sis­ter Jorgie

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