A two-year-old boy who desperately needs a bone marrow transplant has been found a match after he inspired a 10-fold increase in the number of Asian donors.
Doctors told Gaurav Bains's family he could become seriously ill if he did not have a transplant by Christmas as he was likely to develop an aggressive form of childhood leukaemia.
But thanks to an overwhelming response, the toddler has been found a match and will undergo a potentially life-saving transplant next month.
Gaurav, from Tipton in the West Midlands, was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder called Monosomy 7 in June.
His parents, Sunny and Gurpit, launched a public appeal for donors in September after failing to find a match within their family.
They used social media and blogged to find a donor for their son, whose illness means he has to be admittted to hospital if he suffers a simple cough or cold.
As a result, there was a huge increase in the number of Asian people applying to become a bone marrow donor on the Anthony Nolan register.
Mr Bains said: "When we were told that there was a matching donor, we just couldn't believe it.
"Our feelings towards Gaurav's donor are overwhelming because that person is giving Gaurav such an important gift. If I could, I would go to meet Gaurav's donor right now and give them the biggest hug in the world.
"A matching donor means that we can go ahead with Gaurav's bone marrow transplant. It is a very serious procedure but we know that it will give Gaurav the best possible chance at survival.
"We hope that having the support of those around us will give us the strength we will need to get through the challenges ahead. "
Anthony Nolan estimates that more than 3,000 people from all backgrounds have joined the bone marrow register as a result of Gaurav's appeal.
The blood cancer charity revealed that 480 Asian people applied to the bone marrow register online in September and October, compared to 40 joining the register in the same period the previous year.
Mr Bains said: "Friends, family, and people who we have never met before have backed the campaign to recruit more donors and we would like to thank everyone who has been involved. Every single person who has joined the register could be a match for someone in desperate need of a transplant and help another family out there.
"No one can imagine what it is like to be in the position of needing a bone marrow donor for your child until you experience it. We have been very fortunate in finding a donor and I know that it is not the case for every family.
"The campaign was never just about finding a donor for Gaurav. It was about ensuring that there will be matching donors for years to come - for our children's families and grandchildren's families.
"As a community, I want us to continue this campaign to recruit more bone marrow donors so that every family is able to find a donor for their loved one."
Bhaveshree Chandegra, Asian recruitment manager at Anthony Nolan, said: "We are absolutely delighted that a matching donor has been found for Gaurav.
"His story has inspired so many people to sign up as donors and, in particular, we have seen a huge increase in the number of Asian donors on the bone marrow register.
"Asian patients in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant still have just a 40-per-cent chance of finding a match.
"It is so important that more Asian people sign up as bone marrow donors so that we can help more people like Gaurav in the future and so that no family has to go through an agonising wait to find out if they have a match."
Around 1,800 people need a bone marrow or stem cell transplant every year in the UK - usually their last chance of survival.
Some 63 per cent of UK patients will not find a matching donor within their families.
According to Anthony Nolan, a suitable donor can only be found for around half the people who need a life-saving bone marrow transplant.
Most donations - 90 per cent - now take place via peripheral blood stem cell collection, which is done at an outpatient appointment and is similar to donating blood.
- More about:
- Family And Parenting
- Social Media