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Sick Welling six-year-old needs lifesaving bone marrow transplant

PUBLISHED: 12:08 31 July 2013 | UPDATED: 12:08 31 July 2013

Rayaan with his dad Ghazali at Great Ormond Street Hospital

Rayaan with his dad Ghazali at Great Ormond Street Hospital

Archant

Little Rayaan Siddiqui, of Welling, is dying.

The six-year-old, of Monmouth Close, has a rare blood cancer called hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), a disorder which leads to an overactive immune system.

What makes the family’s quest doubly difficult is that bone marrow transplants, more so than organ transplants, depend on ethnicity – so a match is far more likely to come from the Asian community. None of his immediate and extended family members who have been tested are a match.

Dad Ghazali said: “At the moment he’s taking steroids and going through chemotherapy, which has improved his condition but this is nothing more than a stop gap.

“I’d say he can go on like this for another three to six months so time really isn’t on our side. Seeing the change in Rayaan since he got sick has been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever gone through.”

Rayaan was a happy, healthy child who enjoyed active hobbies like swimming and karate before he got ill at the start of May.

Then, as Ghazali explains, he started getting fevers out of nowhere, which went on for two weeks. He was taken to his GP, who did not pick up anything, then when he did not improve Ghazali and his wife Navida took their son to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich.

Blood tests showed that Rayaan was very ill as his white blood cell count was extremely low.

He was transferred to Royal Marsden Hospital and after leukaemia was ruled out, he was diagnosed by HLH by specialists from Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Ghazali, 38, said: “The condition attacks the healthy part of a person’s body. Left untreated, it leads to multiple organ failures and has a 100 per cent fatality rate.

“The genetic form of the disease, which Rayann has, is only curable by a bone marrow transplant.

“His appearance has changed massively. He’s put on weight because of the steroids, his face has become puffy, his muscles have weakened and he struggles to walk around for long periods of time.”

Rayaan, who has two older sisters – Zayna, 11, and seven-year-old Shifa – is currently in and out of Great Ormond Street as his condition continues to fluctuate.

The family is currently working closely with Delete Blood Cancer UK in their quest to raise awareness and find a donor for Rayaan.

Ghazali, an audit manager, said: “In the long run, this appeal will benefit the Asian community if people realise how important it is to get tested for things like this.

“Culturally Asians are unaware and scared of what the donation process involves. We’ve been asked what blood group Rayaan is but it has nothing to do with that.

“I get the feeling people are scared by the prospect of hospitalisation when really it’s a simple procedure. We need people to come forward now.”

To see if you are a match for Rayaan contact Ghazali on 07800 682 702 or email ghazali.siddiqui@bdo.co.uk.

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