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How you can save a little girl’s life

Written by on May 15, 2024

For five-year-old Addison Kemp, a simple nosebleed can be catastrophic and instead of going to school or playing with friends, she spends her days in a hospital getting blood transfusions to stay alive.

Addison suffers from a rare health condition called severe Aplastic anaemia, which means her body’s bone marrow does not produce enough new blood cells to do fundamental things like carry oxygen, control infections or heal after an injury.

In an emotional interview with A Current Affair, her parents Bianca and Daniel said the condition would mean death for little Addison without a bone-marrow transplant.

“She wouldn’t live,” Ms Kemp said.

“We need a donor.”

The parents said they discovered their daughter’s condition after she came home from school with bruises over her body.

Ms Kemp took her to the doctor for blood tests and the doctor called Mr Kemp the next day with the heartbreaking news, telling the parents to take Addison to Queensland Children’s Hospital immediately.

“I was gutted, I was devastated. Getting a phone call from the doctor saying you need to rush your little girl to the hospital. That wasn’t a phone call that I wanted,” Mr Kemp said.

Addison now waits in hospital until she can be matched with a donor.

Addison’s little sister, Crimson, misses her.

“She gets a bit upset every day that they are not home,” Mr Kemp said.

The family said they did not match up with Addison and no registered Australian donors had matched up with her either.

But Lisa Smith, from bone marrow donation charity Strength to Give, said hope was not lost and regular Australians could save a life.

The first step in becoming a donor involves taking a cheek swab in the mail to test immune system genetics.

If a match is made with a patient, a short course of injections follows before the donation operation, which Ms Smith said was akin to donating blood.

“The vast majority of time, it is you sitting in a chair, having your blood filtered, while you are watching Netflix.”

Ms Kemp begged Australians to sign up as donors.

“I really want to put the message out there that if you can, do,” she said.

“You could be saving a life, that’s the biggest thing you could do in the world.”