The number of stem cell donors has soared since the death of Birmingham Children’s Hospital cancer patient Azaylia Cain.
Azaylia’s story inspired over 56,000 people to sign the stem cell register as the family gained a fast following on social media documenting their daughter’s progress.
The baby died from a rare and aggressive form of cancer known as Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) on April 24, following a six month battle.
Over the last few weeks, ex-Coventry City footballer Ashley Cain and his partner, aesthetic practitioner Safiyya Vorajee, have been raising awareness of the illness.
The family managed to raise more than £1.6 million to travel to Singapore for their daughter to have a life-saving transplant. However, after raising the target amount, they found out baby Azaylia’s cancer was no longer treatable, and she died shortly after the news.
Platelets are the cells which help the blood to clot. Donors give blood, which is then put through a process of separation so only platelets and plasma are collected.
Dr Suzanne Morton is a consultant in Haematology and Transfusion medicine at the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham and has expressed the importance of platelet donors.
“Chemotherapy treatment temporarily stops the bone marrow from working and so leukaemia patients need support with transfusions of red blood cells and platelets until their own marrow recovers.”Dr. Suzanne Morton
Consultant in Haematology and Transfusion Medicine
The Anthony Nolan charity, who help people with blood cancer, have noticed a surge of people signing up to be on their stem cell register since hearing Azaylia’s story. Some 56,000 people are now on the register since Azaylia’s family called for platelet donors on their social media.
Azaylia’s story has touched many people as Henny Braund, Chief Executive of Anthony Nolan has said the eight month old’s development and resilience moved him.
“Azaylia’s story has inspired thousands of young people from a range of backgrounds to join the Anthony Nolan stem cell donor register. This lifesaving legacy will give countless families hope in years to come and I hope this is of some comfort to all who knew and loved her.”Henny Braund, Chief Executive of Anthony Nolan
“Platelets are vital for treating serious blood disorders but they can only be stored for a few days so regular donations are always in urgent demand” said the NHS Blood Services which is why the appeal for donors is increasingly in demand.
Although the money raised for Azaylia’s treatment can no longer be used for that purpose, the parents have released on Azaylia’s GoFundMe page that they want to use the money positively in their daughter’s name. They plan to set up a charity to help those like Azaylia whilst putting a part of the money towards a “magical and deserving send off.”
The family have said that the funeral will take place in Nuneaton on Friday 21st May and they request that people come to pay their respects.