A CALL has been made for people in Worcestershire to sign up as bone marrow donors to help a brave three-year-old girl with an extremely rare condition.
Tia Pugh suffers from an immune deficiency known as STAT1 deficiency as well as a tuberculosis-like illness called mycobacterium malmoense, meaning she cannot play with other children and has to get up at 6am every morning to be treated with antibiotics at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.
It is thought she could be the only person in the world with a combination of the two conditions, which cause her boils, vomiting, seizures and weight loss.
Her parents, Nicholas and Yupa Pugh of Bath Road, Worcester, hope a bone marrow transplant could give her a chance at a normal life, but her mixed race means finding a matching donor is proving extremely difficult.
An event will be held at Worcestershire County Cricket Club in New Road from 3pm until 7pm on Thursday, February 20 where Mr and Mrs Pugh will be encouraging people to sign up to the Anthony Nolan bone marrow register.
Describing Tia as “our little darling”, Mr Pugh said: “It is heart-breaking to watch her suffer like this.
“Now that the doctors have identified what’s wrong we can at last get moving on finding a cure. But we have to be quick, and that cure is out of our hands until we can find a match.
“All I can say to everyone out there is please help us, however you can.
“Think how you would feel if it was your daughter, or your son, and you needed a stranger to help them survive.
“Childhood is supposed to be full of fun and joy, and that’s all we want for our Tia.
“Please help us help her by signing up to the bone marrow register.”
Karen Archer, regional register development manager at blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan, said donors of South East Asian and mixed Asian heritage were particularly encouraged to sign up as they were most likely to be a suitable match for Tia.
“A bone marrow transplant is usually the best chance at survival for someone with a blood disorder,” she said.
“For a successful transplant, we need to find a donor who matches the person in need of a transplant.
“For people like little Tia, finding a matching bone marrow donor can make all the difference.”
Anyone aged between 16 and 30 and in good health can sign up as a bone marrow donor. All that is required is to fill in a form and provide a saliva sample.
For more information on becoming a bone marrow donor visit nhsbt.nhs.uk/bonemarrow.
For updates on Tia’s progress search Tia Pugh Immune Deficiency on Facebook.