Little girl from Belfast sparks appeal for stem cell donors

Little Belfast girl Alara Basturk (six) is spearheading a campaign to find stem cell donors for her and other people with leukaemia
Andrea McKernon

A LITTLE girl from Belfast who has leukaemia is spearheading a campaign for more people to register as potential blood stem cell donors.  

Six-year-old Alara Basturk was diagnosed three years ago and went into remission after being treated with chemotherapy.

In August she suffered a relapse with doctors telling her devastated parents that she now needs a blood stem cell donation to survive.

None of her family or siblings are matches.

Two months on, a matching stem cell donor is now deperately sought for Alara with people being urged to take a test to see if they can provide a match for her.

A video of the youngster has been made to help her appeal.


The family are being helped by the charity Delete Blood Cancer to help find someone with the necessary matching tissue to save the life of the little girl.

"Alara’s parents were devastated when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia at the age of three and are determined to find someone with a matching tissue-type who can donate some of their blood stem cells to her," said the charity.

A spokeswoman revealed that only 60% of those in need of a blood stem cell donation find a donor with a perfectly matching tissue-type and appealed for more people to register as potential donors.

"That will increase the chances of finding a matching donor for Alara and other people currently seeking a donor."

Despite her illness, Alara is described by her parents as a typical little girl who is a huge fan of Frozen and loves ponies.

Her parents said: “We would love if everyone could please register. It is killing us seeing our baby girl going through this we just want her to get better. Anyone out there could be a match, so please, please register today. You could possibly save a child's life.”

  • People can register online at and request a cheek swab kit from which to complete their own tissue test. The result goes onto the database for people like Alara who need donors.



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