Father makes donor plea as his daughter fights rare blood disorder

Please help give my little girl a second chance at life: Surgeon makes stem cell plea as his daughter, 12, fights rare blood disorder

  • Geraint Lloyd is appealing for donors to help save his 12-year-old daughter, Arya
  • Arya, from Cambridge, has been diagnosed with a life-threatening blood disease
  • The keen swimmer has aplastic anaemia, which limits production of blood cells

A surgeon who has dedicated his career to saving the lives of others yesterday described the shock of having his own daughter fall seriously ill.

Geraint Lloyd is now appealing for donors to offer their help after Arya, 12, was diagnosed with a life-threatening blood disorder.

Her best chance of survival is through a stem cell transplant but her father and mother Brundha are only a partial match and she has no siblings, who would normally offer the best option.

It means her parents are having to rely on the kindness of a stranger to provide a lifeline for Arya.

Arya Lloyd has been diagnosed with aplastic anaemia, which means the body cannot produce enough blood cells. The 12-year-old’s best chance of survival is through a stem cell transplant

‘Our world was turned on its head when we were given Arya’s devastating diagnosis,’ said Mr Lloyd, 45, a consultant general, colorectal and laparoscopic surgeon at the Lister Hospital in Stevenage, Hertfordshire.

‘It is with us always and we’re doing all we can to provide her with a second chance of life.

‘I am a surgeon who has spent half my life looking after people with serious medical problems and cancer but nothing prepares you for this.

‘There is someone out there who is a match for Arya. By having more people from a diverse range of backgrounds on the [stem cell] register, Arya and countless others may be able to find that all-important match.’

Arya requires a stem cell donor but her parents Geraint Lloyd and Brundha, are only a partial match

Arya complained of stomach aches in May this year and her parents assumed it was growing pains.

When the problem persisted she was referred to St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London, where she was diagnosed with aplastic anaemia, a rare and serious disease where the body fails to produce enough blood cells.

Patients are left fatigued and are more prone to infections and uncontrolled bleeding. It is usually caused when the immune system attacks the stem cells, which manufacture blood cells in the bone marrow.

Mr Lloyd, said: ‘The world is a very different place now we know Arya is so unwell.’ He said his daughter can no longer play sport or go to school because she is being treated to reduce her body’s immune response. 

‘This makes her more vulnerable to infections. Mrs Lloyd, 47, a dentist, added: ‘Prior to her diagnosis, Arya was fit and healthy. 

‘She swam, ran 100-metre sprints, played netball and hockey and was always on the trampoline. Her zest for life was infectious.’

As a surgeon, Arya’s father Geraint has spent his career saving other people’s lives, but now he is appealing for someone to save his daughter’s

The family, from Cambridge, are working with international blood cancer charity DKMS to find a donor. However, Arya’s mixed heritage makes the search for the ideal match more difficult.

DKMS has reported a steep drop in donors coming forward since March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Anyone aged between 17 and 55 and in general good health can register online at www.dkms.org.uk/arya for a home swab kit.

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