Date
22 October 2017
Choi Hiu-ching is a big fan of the Disney hit movie Frozen and its main character, Queen Elsa. Bone marrow donors can go to any Red Cross blood donation center for registration. Photos: Hospital Authority, Facebook
Choi Hiu-ching is a big fan of the Disney hit movie Frozen and its main character, Queen Elsa. Bone marrow donors can go to any Red Cross blood donation center for registration. Photos: Hospital Authority, Facebook

6-year-old girl races against time for bone marrow transplant

Six-year-old Choi Hiu-ching, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in March last year, is racing against time.

She is desperately awaiting a bone marrow donation within the next three months, a crucial period for treatment of her condition, or her life would be at risk, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Choi underwent multiple chemotherapy sessions over a period of 10 months after she was admitted to the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sha Tin last year after reporting pain from a swollen foot.

She resumed her school life at the beginning of this year but had to quit again after three weeks as her chemotherapy sessions were deemed unsuccessful in view of a relapse, Ming Pao Daily reported.

Aware of the crucial time element in the effort to rescue their child, Choi’s parents have taken to Facebook, posting pictures of the family of four to seek a bone marrow donor.

Choi is a fan of the Disney hit movie Frozen, and the entire family hopes that she could fight off the cancer like the strong-willed Elsa in the film.

Her father told news website HK01.com that they did not want to tell her about the three months’ time frame, and they would just hope for the best.

He said the family’s collective wish is to be able to take Choi to Disneyland again.

Hong Kong has established the first bone barrow donation facility in Asia.

As of the end of 2016, over 110,000 people have registered as donors, with 527 of them having already donated their bone marrows, according to the Hong Kong Red Cross.

Thanks to the database, over 940 local and overseas patients were successfully paired with applicable bone marrows for treatment.

The Hospital Authority said it is immensely difficult to find suitable bone marrow transplant matches as the human leukocyte antigen must be of extremely high percentage or even an identical match.

If a patient is not able to find a suitable donor within the family, they will have to turn to non-relatives.

According to a study, the chance of finding a match for the patient within the non-relative pool is about one in 5,000 or 10,000, or even one in 100,000 in some extreme cases.

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EL/DY/CG

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