Öykü Arin Yazıcı instilled hope in leukemia patients after a campaign launched by the 4-year-old girl's family drew thousands of bone marrow donors. Yet, no donor match has been found for Yazıcı, and doctors decided to go with a semi-compatible bone marrow donation from her mother. The girl's parents are confident that she will "beat" the disease and recover while the campaign, which started last year, still continues.
The young girl, diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia, captivated the hearts of the Turkish public after her family appealed for stem cell and blood donations on social media. Soon, the parents received a nationwide response, with people all over Turkey rushing to clinics to donate blood and cells for the girl who needed a bone marrow transplant by the end of March. When the suitable bone marrow could not be located, doctors launched a transplant process from her mother Eylem Yazıcı. The surgery will take place today in the southern city of Antalya where Öykü Arin lives. Her parents shaved their heads to show their support for the young girl ahead of the surgery.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA) yesterday, Eylem Yazıcı said the campaign they started for their daughter raised awareness of the issue in Turkey. She said hundreds of thousands of people donated for the campaign, but they failed to find a "100 percent compatible" match. Although the young girl is "doing fine," the mother says doctors told them the disease can "mutate fast" and endanger Öykü Arin. "We couldn't take the risk of waiting longer for a compatible transplant. A semi-compatible transplant means it may fail or the disease can manifest itself again, but I believe she will be cured," her mother says.
Though a match could not be found for Öykü Arin, the campaign helped save others, including a 1-month-old baby in need of a transplant who was matched with an eligible donor. It also helped some donors to discover early diagnoses of their diseases.
Yazıcı was diagnosed with juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia, whose incident rate is one to nine in 1 million. The girl recently started chemotherapy, and a search of an international stem cell donor database, in which some 7 million donors are registered, failed to find a match.
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