Hundreds of selfless strangers have come forward to be tested in a bid to find a stem cell match that could save the life of a brave cancer battle toddler.
Little Phoebe Ashfield, aged one, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia when she was just seven-months-old and her only hope was a stem cell transplant.
Tragically, Phoebe’s parents Emma Wyke, 26, and Jordan Ashfield, 26, were not a match.
So friends and family took to Facebook in a desperate search for stranger donors to come forward in a desperate bid to save Phoebe.
Last weekend, (Saturday 13/7), more than 600 potential donors were swabbed at two locations in the West Midlands to help save brave Phoebe.
The two donor rallies were held at Tipton Sports Academy and at a Tesco Extra in Burntwood.
Phoebe, of Dudley, West Mids., was diagnosed with the condition, where the cancer attacks the white blood cells, at Birmingham Children’s Hospital on January 18th.
Mum Emma and dad Jordan, an electrician, had their whole life turned “upside down” following the diagnosis.
Gruelling chemotherapy had not worked for their daughter and sadly the cancer has remained.
Mum-of-one Emma was told Phoebe’s best chance of survival was a stem cell transplant, but they, sadly, were not a match.
Emma, who gave up her telesales executive job to be a full-time carer, was “overwhelmed” by the amount of people who turned up to be tested.
She said: “Phoebe was diagnosed with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia when she was just seven-months-old. It started off as a cold and chest infection just Christmas last year.
“I had taken her to the doctors and they gave her some antibiotics but she still didn’t get over it a week later.
“She had been sick all over her dad and had a temperature of 39 degrees. I took her to Sandwell Hospital and they thought she was anaemic because of how pale she was.
“But when they looked at her bloods, they came back with the diagnosis of blood cancer.
“We didn’t know what type of cancer it was until they transferred us over to Birmingham Children’s Hospital – which is where she was diagnosed.
“High dose chemotherapy was started and she had blood transfusions and bone marrow aspirates.
“Four months after being diagnosed she relapsed, the chemotherapy wasn’t working in way it should’ve been.
“That is when were told by doctors, Phoebe needed a stem cell transplant as the chemotherapy wasn’t working.
“She could be youngest person to have a stem cell transplant as the youngest person known was a two-year-old in America.
“The stem cell drive had taken place at two places on Saturday (13/7).
“One was at Tipton Sports Academy and the other was at the Tesco Extra store on the Birmingham Road in Dudley.
“A friend of mine, Amy Smith and Nikki Price set it up. Nikki is a friend of one of the mums who child goes to the same school at Oscar Saxelby-Lee.
“They worked together and contacted DKMS and they said yes to helping us set up a drive.
“We had 600 people turn up to the drive yesterday (Sat) and we raised £650 for the charity.
“I was full of emotion at the time. It was so overwhelming. The fact that people had taken time out of their day to come down and see if they were a match for Phoebe.
“It just makes things more real. It was such a good turn out. There aren’t words to describe it.
“As a parent seeing all these people come down and you can’t thank them enough, thank you doesn’t seem to enough.
“Phoebe is so brave. It’s a lot for a one-year-old to go through. She always smiling. She has her off days but that’s normal for a child, but she just a normal happy one-year-old.
“She just so playful and loving. It is just not fair for any child to go through what this.
“If I could, I would take the condition away from her within a second. We just got to be there for her and help her get through this.
“Our world was turned upside down when she got her diagnosis. People can still register online with the Anthony Taylor Trust and DKMS, they don’t go down to a drive.
“A swabbing pack will be sent out in the post and then send it back. Then you can help children such as Phoebe, Oscar and others just like them.”
The couple are now waiting to discover if any of the good samaritan donors are a match to enable the transplant to go ahead.