Express & Star

Family's joy as marrow donor found for Margot Martini

'The way people have responded is remarkable. We can't thank them enough.' The parents of little Margot Martini today issued a heartfelt thank you to the thousands of people worldwide who supported their campaign to find a bone marrow donor for their beloved little girl.


Little Margot has captured the heart of the nation with her red curls and beautiful big brown eyes.

So much so, that more than 50,000 people signed up to a campaign to see if they could be her perfect match.

Her grateful parents Yaser and Vicki Martini today thanked people for their support and urged more people to register as donors to help other families in the same situation.

Margot was diagnosed with leukaemia aged just 14 months – sparking a worldwide hunt to find her perfect stem cell match.

Now aged 17-months, she has been undergoing chemotherapy while the search to find her perfect match continued. And on Friday, the news everybody wanted to hear was announced – a donor had been found.

Although the man who has come forward is not a perfect match, doctors believe it will be an adequate match.

Vicki Martini, aged 38, originally from Essington, said the family had seized the opportunity to move forward with Margot's treatment.

"We are pleased that we are moving in the right direction but it is tenuous," she said.

"Because it's not a perfect match there will be issues. We know that.

"They don't know what her chances are because there's such little data on this. They don't have any comparisons because what she's got is not straightforward, but a bone marrow transplant is her best hope for disease-free survival."

After being diagnosed with leukaemia, Margot spent 11 days in an induced coma before starting chemotherapy. Vicki, who is also mother to Oscar and Rufus, said she had come on 'leaps and bounds' since then.

She added: "We have been incredibly fortunate in how she has responded so far and we are very hopeful that she is going to continue.

"She is very resilient. She has got spirit and character and that is carrying her through."

Yaser and Vicki are still encouraging people to get swabbed to help find donors for the 37,000 people worldwide who need them.

This includes some 1,600 people in the UK.

One of the difficulties Margot faced was that doctors were unable to target a specific ethnicity, because Vicki and Yaser have blood from several different nationalities between them.

Vicki, who now lives in London with her family, said: "If everybody was to sign up then everyone would find a match. It's as simple as that. It's almost like an insurance policy for the future for everybody. You might not need it, but then you might.

"It could be someone that you care about tomorrow."

Yaser, 43, added: "I hope it is just the start, what we have started with this worldwide momentum."

People are still being encouraged to attend a swabbing day being held at the Mount Hotel, in Tettenhall Wood, on February 23. The event is running from 10am to 4pm.

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