‘EastEnders’ actress Priya Davdra has released a video urging people to return their home swab kits to blood cancer charity DKMS to help save the life of twelve-year-old Arya Lloyd, from Cambridge.
Priya, first began working with DKMS last year when she supported an appeal calling for strangers to potentially give Arya a second chance of life.
Last May, following initial complaints to dad Geraint and mum Brundha of stomach pains, 12-year-old Arya was diagnosed with a life-threatening blood disorder – aplastic anaemia. The condition occurs when bone marrow and stem cells do not produce enough blood cells.
The family turned to international blood cancer charity DKMS, with offices in America and India – where Arya has relatives – the charity launched a global appeal in November 2020. Over 7,000 Brits, including Priya, were inspired to take the first steps to become a lifesaver-in-waiting when they ordered a free home swab kit from the charity.
But Priya went one step further. By swabbing the inside of her cheeks and returning the kit to DKMS through their Freepost envelope, she is now fully registered on the UK’s aligned stem cell registry. The star made a video to thank everyone for their support – including the other 4,302 people who did the same thing as her.
Priya said: “I just wanted to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to each and every one of you who have either donated, or signed up onto the register…you guys are amazing, so thank you so much.”
According to the charity 43% (3,326) of the 7,628 swab kits requested remain unreturned to DKMS, and with time running out for Arya, her unrelated match might still be somewhere out there.
Priya added: “If you have signed up, and you have received your swab kit, but for whatever reason haven’t managed to send it back, please do at your earliest convenience. You’ve come this far, so let’s complete the process, and hopefully, together we can find a match for Arya and many others like her.”
Blood cancer patients from Black, Asian or minority ethnicity groups face lower survival odds due to the lack of donor diversity. These patients have just a 20% chance of finding the best possible stem cell donor match, compared to 69% for northern European backgrounds.
This is due in part to the low numbers of donors registered from those Black, Asian or ethnic minority backgrounds. Donors from minority ethnic backgrounds make up just 13.1% of the UK stem cell register and because Black, Asian or ethnic minority patients tend to have more varied tissue – meaning there is an even more specific biological requirement needed of a donor than for a white patient.
Register online at www.dkms.org.uk/arya for a home swab kit.