Parents’ of 3 year old Veer Gudka make plea for Asian stem cell donors

Tuesday 14th January 2020 16:42 EST

Veer Gudka has been described by those who have met him as a cheeky young boy who is smart, playful, brave and adventurous and enjoys all sorts of activities but particularly jumping.

The boistrous 3 year old from Harrow became  very lethargic in December 2018 has been diagnosed with Fanconi anaemia a rare genetic disease that puts him at risk of cancer as it reduces the number of blood cells created by the body. Whilst his energy levels returned to normal a year ago the average lifespan of those with the disease is between just 20 and 30 years with one in five not expected to reach 18.

His parents Nirav and Kirpa are appealing for more people of Asian descent to sign up as stem cell donors. Working with blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan, the family want to diversify the stem cell register and give their little boy a fighting chance of finding the best possible donor.

Speaking to various media outlets his father Nirav said: “The news came to us as a big shock. We were distraught. We didn’t expect anything of that nature when we were called back in August. Our otherwise perfect little world was turned upside down.”

Doctors treating Veer say that his best chance of survival would be to have a stem cell transplant to help reboot his body’s ability to make blood. His parents and five-year-old sister Suhani were found not to be a match and no matching donors are currently on the register. 

As he is of Asian descent, his chances of finding a match are only 20 per cent, compared with 80 per cent if he was Northern European.

Speaking of the impact Veer’s illness has had on his family, Nirav told Harrowonline that: “Veer’s a little brother. His big sister Suhani is five and knows that Veer has got Fanconi Anaemia, and so needs ‘new blood’. She’s too young to understand the full extent of Veer’s condition but has comprehended that he needs a generous donor to help him.

“As much as we don’t want it to take over our lives, it has. We know that finding a donor is like finding a needle in a haystack, so we are campaigning hard.”

Veer is being kept “under observation” by Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Sarah Rogers, of Anthony Nolan, said: “Veer is a sweet and playful little boy who has touched hearts around the country through his family’s active social media campaign. He’s a bundle of energy and we want to keep him this way. Every single person who signs up to the register has the potential to give hope to someone like Veer in need of a lifesaving stem cell transplant.”

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