LITTLE Phoebe Craig and her family were braced for a heartbreaking wait for a bone marrow match after she was diagnosed with leukaemia.
But they were overjoyed to discover that the three-year-old’s brother is a match.
Now five-year-old Oliver is gearing up for the operation and mum and dad Vicki and Scott hope Phoebe will be back at the family home in Lysander Way, Waterlooville, by Christmas.
Vicki, a claims consultant, said: ‘This is the best news we could have hoped for.
‘We’re a bit anxious of how it will affect Oliver, but, as a family, we’re pleased as it means we don’t have to wait for a match anymore.
‘We’re at the early stages and need to have more tests, but we’re hoping Phoebe will be home for Christmas.
‘We know though that not all families are as fortunate as we are.’
Phoebe was first diagnosed with the cancer in October 2012. Tests last month found it had returned.
She was being treated in Southampton but is now at Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham.
Further tests between the siblings will be carried out, before the transplant takes place. There is only a one-in-three chance of compatibility between siblings.
Vicki, 37, added: ‘Phoebe has had biopsies, and obviously we were facing a wait. We’re really pleased Oliver is a match.
‘But we know children who aren’t fortunate enough to find a match in their family.
‘They rely on the register, and so many are still waiting for a match to be found.
‘I can’t imagine what they must be going through, but if people can help, then I would urge them to.
‘You never think about these things until they happen to you, but registering can make such a difference to others.’
Anthony Nolan is the UK’s blood cancer charity and bone marrow register.
Ann O’Leary, head of register development at Anthony Nolan, said: ‘A bone marrow transplant can provide a cure for many people with blood cancer.
‘To have a successful transplant, they need to find a donor whose tissue type matches theirs.
‘That is why we need as many people as possible to join the bone marrow register.
‘We especially need young men to sign up as donors because they are the most likely to be chosen to donate.’
Now the family is backing the charity, and urging people to sign the register.
LEUKAEMIA is cancer of the white blood cells.
All blood cells in the body are produced by bone marrow – a spongy material found inside the bones.
Charity Anthony Nolan uses its register to match potential bone marrow donors to blood cancer patients, where a transplant could provide a cure.
The charity is looking for men aged 16 to 30 to sign on to its register, as they are most likely a match, and people from black, Asian and other ethnic minority backgrounds, as they are under-represented on the register. To find out more, go to anthonynolan.org.