Little Alishba Qamer is waiting for a miracle, for someone to save her life, after doctors gave her just two months to live in May.
The eight-month-old girl, who lives in Saltley, Birmingham, suffers from a rare bone disorder called malignant infantile osteopetrosis, which is a hereditary condition that affects one in 500,000 babies.
Her parents, Qamer and Shakeela Javed, were devastated when doctors told them of their daughter’s plight.
The disorder is causing irreversible damage to Alishba’s sight and a bone marrow transplant is her only chance of a cure.
In two weeks’ time she will undergo a major operation to relieve pressure on her optical nerves at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, before beginning chemotherapy next month.
Dental nurse Shakeela, aged 24, is now praying that a perfect match can be found at a donor recruitment clinic being held at Birmingham City University Students’ Union in Franchise Street, Perry Barr, on Wednesday.
Mrs Javed said: “Her prognosis is not good. Initially doctors told us she only had two months to live, that was two-and-a-half months ago, so she’s already proving them wrong.
“But we don’t know if she has weeks, months or even years left in her, which is why we need to find a donor so urgently.
“Our 11-month-old cousin died of the same condition in 2000, but Alishba’s a fighter, I just hope a match can be found.”
As well as linking up with the Anthony Nolan Trust, the family have also set up donor-seeking groups on social networking websites Facebook and MySpace.
Mr Javed, aged 27, added: “I couldn’t believe it when the doctors told us our baby girl had such a serious condition.
“All we can do is pray and let people know about this clinic, so we get as many potential matches as possible.”
Izra Iqbal, the charity’s donor recruitment manager, explained that of the 396,000 people on the national register, only four per cent are of South Asian origin.
“There is a real lack of awareness in people from ethnic communities. There are no long-term side effects in joining the register and it can really help the community around you.”
DONOR CLINICS: WHERE AND WHEN
Anyone aged between 18 and 40, and in good health, can attend the Anthony Nolan Trust donor clinic being held at the Students’ Union at Birmingham City University’s Perry Barr campus on Wednesday between 4pm and 8pm. People unable to attend can still register as a donor by calling the charity on 0207 284 1234, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting www.anthonynolan.org.uk
August 5: Highgate Fire Station, Moseley Road between 3-7pm
August 7: WMFS Training Centre, Dartmouth Road, Smethwick between 1-5pm
August 12: Handsworth Fire Station, Rookery Road between 3-7pm
August 19: Dudley Fire Station, Burton Road, between 3-7pm
August 26: Fallings Park Fire Station, Bushbury Road, between 3-7pm