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Saturday, 27 December 2014

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Bone marrow donor joy for Cumbrian youngster

A brave girl from Workington has found the blood marrow donor she needs to survive.

Emily Shutt photo
Emily Shutt with mum Helen Johnson and dad Martyn Shutt

Three-year-old Emily Shutt, of Railbank Drive, has been battling leukaemia for nearly two years – nearly half her life.

But late last year her condition deteriorated and her heartbroken family learned that a bone marrow transplant was vital.

Emily’s brother Alfie, six, father Martyn Shutt, 42, and mum Helen Johnson, 36, have been waiting anxiously since then for a match to be found.

Helen said they had now found a donor and she is due to start radiotherapy on March 3.

She was measured and assessed for a head and body mould yesterday in Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital ahead of the latest round of life-saving treatment.

“She has just come out of theatre now, and is coming round now on my knee,” she said.

She will receive radiotherapy to her head and body ahead of the transplant.

Emily, who will be four next month, has been treated at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary and the Freeman Hospital.

When the Victoria Infant School pupil’s transplant is carried out will depend on how she responds to the treatment.

Speaking following her daughter’s shock relapse, Helen described it as the worst case scenario. “At first she refused all the medicine. She refused to eat and drink,” she said.

“I had to wait four weeks for an ‘I love you’. She wouldn’t speak to anyone. It was heartbreaking.

“In the eight weeks I would say we have probably spent 10 hours all together as a family. It’s been hard.”

Doctors said in June that Emily appeared to be winning her battle and was expected to be treatment-free this year.

But tests found some unusual cells and she was taken back into hospital.

She is one of just two per cent of leukaemia sufferers to relapse during treatment, which means that a bone marrow transplant is essential.

Helen and Martyn have been spending alternating week-long shifts at the hospital.

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