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Help us to save their lives; Join the ECHO's world-wide donor hunt.

Byline: By MARY MURTAGH

TODAY we feature a heartbreaking letter from Ella Wright, the four-year-old Merseyside girl who needs a bone marrow transplant.

Ella has written an open letter to ECHO readers asking for their help to find her and her two-year-old brother Sam a donor.

The Southport youngsters are facing a race against time to save their lives.

A transplant is the only cure for a rare condition which leaves them chronically ill.

Yesterday the ECHO launched the Chance for Life campaign to recruit an army of bone marrow donors - and already the Anthony Nolan Trust has had a steady stream of calls from readers keen to help.

With a little help from her mother Sally, Ella puts in her own words why she wants to find a donor and asks people to help her and her little brother.

Sally, 28, said: "I hope that people read Ella's letter and are moved enough to try to help her and Sam. Both of them are really quite poorly although they have good days and bad days.

"Our only hope is that there is someone out there who is a match for them both. We need that person to come forward now.

"Please help my children have a chance for life."

A worldwide search for a donor has drawn a blank and the Wright family have until this summer to find a stranger who can save their children.

The ECHO has launched the Chance for Life campaign to help find the donor Ella and Sam so urgently need.

We are calling on readers to join the Anthony Nolan Trust and do their bit to save lives.

Many ECHO staff have volunteered, and dotted around today's paper we have featured employees who have promised to sign up.

The children's father, Damian, 33, said: "I am so delighted that people are starting to sign up to the register already. We all hope that the Chance for Life campaign finds a donor for Ella and Sam but every single person who joins has the potential to be a lifesaver for someone else who is desperately ill."

Ella and Sam have a rare genetic immune deficiency which leaves them susceptible to infections and viruses.

They have chronic glandular fever which leaves them tired, with weakened lungs and in general poor health with constant coughs, colds and diarrhoea.

They are constantly in and out of hospital, take a daily cocktail of drugs and need physiotherapy and regular courses of antibiotics.

Despite their poor health the little girl and boy are cheerful, like playing, and enjoy the company of other children.

But Ella and Sam's health is deteriorating week by week and the only cure is a bone marrow transplant.

Without it, Ella and Sam will go on to develop cancer, probably leukaemia, and eventually die.

Finding a donor is reliant on the goodwill of strangers who have signed up to registers, like that run by the Anthony Nolan Trust, around the globe.

We are calling on readers to do their bit to help the youngsters and the 7,000 other people in desperate need of a donor.

A donor must be found by this summer to give the children the best possible chance of it being a success.

If the transfusion is left any longer than that, Ella and Sam will be in too poor health to undergo the delicate procedure.

Six people around the world have been identified as partial matches for the pair.

If a perfect donor is not found, doctors will have no option but to use their bone marrow, reducing the chance of success.

Ruth Carter, spokeswoman for the trust, said: "We are delighted with the Chance for Life campaign. A big thank you to everyone who has pledged to sign up so far. But we need to keep the donors coming." _

marymurtagh@liverpoolecho.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

AT PLAY: Sam and Ella need a bone marrow transplant to help save their lives
COPYRIGHT 2006 MGN Ltd.
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Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 5, 2006
Words:661
Previous Article:Hijack gang escape with pounds 130,000 of monitors.
Next Article:Essentials - How you can help; Chance for Life.


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