The mum of a young girl battling leukaemia who is due to get a transplant this week has urged donors to come forward to save more lives.
Vikki Pirie and her 34-year-old partner Lee Matthew were “devastated” to learn their daughter Louise had been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in February after experiencing bruising on her shins and paleness.
And the 38-year-old, also mother to daughter Sarah, seven, now wants to encourage “as many people as possible” to come forward for a stem cell drive being held in the city later this week to help save lives.
She said: “We went to the doctor to get her checked over and they did blood tests which came back that she had leukaemia.
“We were devastated, we were absolutely gutted.
“How do you tell a 10-year-old she has leukaemia?”
Louise, from Northfield, was immediately placed on an intense course of chemotherapy and had a “tough time from the beginning”.
The 10-year-old had a permanent line put in to deliver her medicines and treatment, but faced complications which saw her flown to hospital in Edinburgh.
Vikki said: “Some stomach fluid went into her lungs so she was flown down to Edinburgh for six days. Any time she gets a round of chemo she has to stay in hospital until her counts come back up.
“She’s just going with the flow and has been brilliant. The things she has been through, she’s dealt with and she still had a smile on her face.”
Doctors have said Louise is now in morphological remission – meaning there is less than 5% leukaemia cells in her bone marrow.
However, the Quarryhill Primary pupil is due to travel to Glasgow this week for a stem cell transplant to help prevent the disease coming back.
And the mum-of-two has encouraged as many people as possible to attend the stem cell drive being held in the city later this week.
Vikki said: “It’s saving her life. This is to stop it coming back.
“If as many people as possible can join then there’s more chance of matches.
“With a wider range of donors, it’s easier to find the perfect match.
“They even tested the tissue of her sister, but she was not a match.
“Anyone of any age can help save a life.
“It means the absolute world to us that someone out there is a match and can help my daughter and help her have the best future.”
Vikki said she never thought she would have to learn so much about cancer when her girls were growing up.
She added: “I’m so grateful there’s people out there who are willing to give up their time to give something so special.
“We are where we are and she’s doing brilliant and hopefully we will get her past this stage as well.”
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The drive, organised by blood cancer charity DKMS, will be held in the Trinity Centre from 10am to 4pm on Saturday.
It is free to register and it involves a swab being taken from inside the participant’s cheek.
This will then be sent away to the charity with the details stored on its database.
Team Jak, a charity which provides practical, social and emotional support to children and young people aged up to 25 with cancer and related illnesses, will also be represented at the event.
They will have an awareness stand to inform the public about the charity, along with a tombola and collection tins to help raise money for both charities.