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Desperate bone marrow search underway for toddler Emma Whittaker
Both Emma and James have been diagnosed with Fanconi Anemia, but the family are yet to find a bone marrow match for four-year-old Emma
A mother is searching for a bone marrow match that could save the life of for her four-year-old daughter.
Rachel Emberton is urging residents to put their names on the bone marrow register after her daughter Emma was diagnosed with Fanconi Anemia (FA), a rare blood disorder that can lead to bone marrow failure and cancer.
Her daughter, Emma Whittaker, was diagnosed with the disease in November when doctors noticed bruising on her body at a regular appointment required because she was born with one kidney.
Emma is showing the first signs of bone marrow failure much earlier than expected and doctors have advised she will need a bone marrow transplant in the next few years.
Ms Emberton, who grew up in Garston said: "Taking the news was very hard because the doctor was very honest with us and told us the average life expectancy was 30.
"But knowing some adults have live passed that age gives you a bit of hope that there will actually be a chance Emma will live a normal life.
"Me and my husband have been coping with things day by day and we support each other. Sometimes you can feel very lonely.
"Emma is too young to really understand it but knows she has special blood and when we go to the doctor that’s what she calls it."
Ms Emberton added they would need to find a bone marrow match "sooner rather than later".
Emma’s younger brother, James, who is three years old, was also diagnosed with FA in January this year after he was tested to find a match for Emma. A donor match has been found should James require a transplant.
Since finding out the news Ms Emberton, who lived in Bedmond for 15 years and now runs her own family business in Kings Langley, has thrown herself into fundraising.
The former Queen’s School pupil has organised a bring and buy sale, name the teddy fundraiser, a hamper of treats and charity walk in May to raise awareness of FA.
Ms Emberton aims to encourage people to sign up to the Anthony Nolan bone marrow register, a charity dedicated to saving the lives of people with blood cancer who need a blood stem cell, or bone marrow transplant.
The 39-year-old said: "Emma and James are typical children, little angels on their own but when they are together they become little devils.
"Emma is four going on 14 and like any other young child loves her princesses and going to school.
"Emma is my little princess and I all I want is to see her grow up.
"This would mean everything to me. If my campaigning could lead to saving Emma’s life what more can I ask for."
Ms Emberton is now using her time to find a business or local college that would agree to hold a recruitment drive event at which people could register to be a bone marrow or stem cell donor.
To register people are asked to fill in a form and provide a small saliva sample.
Ms Emberton added: "Registering is really simple, which I don’t think many people realise. Sometimes you can feel helpless but I will do my best to raise the profile of FA and try to find a cure.
"This is not just for Emma, this is for everyone with FA."
There are currently over 450,000 people on the Anthony Nolan register, but the charity can still only find a match for around half the people who come to them in need of a lifesaving transplant.
For more information contact Ms Emberton on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07595710386.