Sunderland Echo - - Front Page - By Fiona Thomp­son fiona.thomp­son@jpress.co.uk Twit­ter: @fionath­omp­son

The grand­fa­ther of a Sun­der­land school­girl search­ing for a life­saver to help her bat­tle a rare blood con­di­tion has is­sued a ral­ly­ing call for peo­ple to be­come donor - just like him.

Graeme Bowser reg­is­tered to the DKMS stem cell list as his fam­ily be­gan to look for some­one who was a match for seven-year-old Chloe Gray.

The Plans Farm Academy pupil has Di­a­mond Black­fan Anaemia, which means her body does not pro­duce red blood cells.

She has un­der­gone reg­u­lar blood trans­fu­sions since be­fore she was born, but the Silksworth young­ster is in need of the treat­ment be­cause her body is be­gin­ning to build an­ti­bod­ies against the donor blood.

More than 300 signed up to the char­ity reg­is­ter at a #ahero­forchloe event at The Bridges shop­ping cen­tre on Mon­day, which saw mem­bers of her fam­ily and the char­ity man a ta­ble where peo­ple could sub­mit a swab to help cre­ate a DNA pro­file of them and fill out some de­tails about their health.

Fur­ther events are planned, with peo­ple also able to sign up on­line. Among those who have al­ready made a dif­fer­ence is Graeme, who was found to be a match for a woman in Aus­tralia.

The 56-year-old re­tired fire­fighter, from Houghton, do­nated in 2003 after he was talked and sup­ported through the process by the char­ity.

As he put his feet up, he do­nated blood which had the cells fil­tered out, with what was left re­turned to his body.

Graeme, who is dad to Chloe’s father Craig 32, and twins Leigh and Rachael, 27, said: “They told me I could be a match and I had some blood tests, so then went to Lon­don to the Univer­sity Col­lege Hos­pi­tal to do­nate my stem cells.

“It was an ab­so­luted od­dle to do.

“Ev­ery­body has these im­ages in their minds that there’s going to be a great big nee­dle and it’s going to be dif­fi­cult, but it wasn’t at all.

“For five days be­fore I was given a growth hor­mone to force the body to pro­duce more stem cells into the blood stream, they took the cells out and put the rest of the blood back in.

“I had do­nated plasma be­fore and it was very sim­i­lar.

“I know that I was do­nat­ing to a woman in her 40s in Mel­bourne, Aus­tralia.

“The only side af­fect I have was a bit of back ache, that was it.

“For 30 years I tried my best to save lives as a fire­fighter and then I got the chance to save the life of some­one else all the way in Aus­tralia.

“It’s such a sim­ple thing do and it’s a great feel­ing.”

Graeme, along­side wife Kim, 57, and Chloe’s mum Francesca, brother Fred­die Bowser, two, sis­ter Mil­lie Gray, 10, and step brother Tye Bowser, 12, are hope­ful a match can be found for her.

Graeme added: “Chloe takes it all in her stride.

“I think that’s the amaz­ing thing about her, be­cause since birth, she’s not known any dif­fer­ent and so going to hos­pi­tal is a dress­ing up day and she knows all the nurses and doc­tors.

“She has a great sense of hu­mour, she’s a great kid.

“We just hope some­one can be found to help her and for oth­ers in the same sit u a reg­is­ter­tion as we are.” The DKMS is open to peo­ple aged be­tween 17 and 55 and in gen­eral good health.

Any­one i nter­ested in sign­ing up who has had ach ronic or secon di­tion ri­ous now or in the past, or take med­i­ca­tion reg­u­larly, can chat with a mem­ber of the DKMS UK team by email­ing donor@ dkms.org.uk.

Peo­ple can reg­is­ter on­line via dkms.org.uk.

Chloe’s mother Francesca

Chloe Gray

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