Stem cell donor drive being held in Leamington in hopes of helping five-year-old Kaiya

Kaiya Patel urgently needs a stem cell donor from outside the family to help her fight Leukaemia.
Kaiya Patel urgently needs a stem cell donor from outside the family to help her fight Leukaemia.

A stem cell donor drive is being held in Leamington this weekend in the hope of finding a match for a five-year-old girl who has a rare form of Leukaemia.

Kaiya Patel desperately needs to find a stem cell donor from outside the family to help her fight the aggressive cancer.

Kaiya Patel.

Kaiya Patel.

Kaiya’s family - including her father Ruchit Patel who used to live in Leamington and now lives in London, and her grandparents Ramesh Patel and Shobhna Patel who still live in the town - are appealing to members of the Asian community across the Warwick district to get tested to see if they could be a match.

Following Kaiya’s diagnosis earlier this year, the Patel family launched the campaign, which has attracted national media coverage, and stem cell donation registration events are being held across the UK.

Priya Desai, Kaiya’s aunt, said: “Trying to find a donor match is all we are doing all day every day. This includes family and friends and even people who are strangers are also trying to help.

“All focus is on getting that match not just for Kaiya but for so many other people who might need it in the future. The campaign has gotten so big and we are so incredibly grateful to have the support.

A letter by Kaiya.

A letter by Kaiya.

“Kaiya is struggling a bit with the side effects of her chemotherapy but we are trying to stay normal around her and she has got a lot of that fighting spirit.

“Her parents have been so inspiring and so supportive for Kaiya and people have been inspired and touched by Kaiya’s story.

“As well as trying to find a donor we have also been able to clear up myths about stem cell donation. People think it is difficult, invasive and painful and we have been able to quash these.

“This campaign has also highlighted awareness about needing more Asian donors. We have gone into communities and made people aware of the subject and how easy it is to donate.

“I don’t know of anything that could be better in life than saving a child’s life.

“All we are asking for is 10 minutes of time for a mouth swab and then if you are a match a further three to four hours.

Kaiya’s grandparents and other members of the family and friends will be attending the registration event.

The stem cell donor registration session will take place on Sunday (June 10) at the Community Centre at Shree Krishna Mandir at 10B High Street, Leamington from 9.30am to 5.30pm.