Stem-cell match found for Gracey

19-month-old Gracelyn Green.

A stem-cell match has been found for young Gracelyn Green, putting her one step closer to a life-saving transplant.

The 19-month-old from Atlantis, who is also called Gracey, has juvenile myelomonocytic leukaemia (JMML), a rare cancer of the blood that affects young children. Her only chance of survival is a stem-cell transplant.

The South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR), an Observatory-based non-profit, launched a global search to find Gracey a match, and, in March, a stem-cell donor was found in America.

Earlier this year, the SABMR appealed to the public to get tested to help Gracey (“Gracey needs emergency stem-cell transplant,” Southern Suburbs Tatler, February 17).

Jane Ward, the SABMR’s deputy director, said they worked with international registries to give patients the best chance of finding a donor match.

“The chances of finding a match is 1 in 100 000, and the odds were even greater for Gracey, around 1 in 400 000, due to the lack of donors of colour on the registry, as patients are more likely to find a match within their own ethnic grouping.”

The match for Gracey had been made possible with funding from the patient assistance programme that the SABMR established in 2018 to help families who could not afford donor-related costs, Ms Ward said.

The programme was funded solely by donations from the public, corporates and fund-raising efforts, she said.

In June last year, Gracey’s mother, Shanique Green, died in a fire at the family’s home in Atlantis.

Gracey’s aunt, Lizel Solomons, said Gracey had had three rounds of chemotherapy in March. “She is currently recuperating but is not healthy enough right now for the transplant to take place. Once we are given the all-clear, she will go into isolation for a minimum period of eight weeks after which the transplant will go ahead.”

Ms Ward said the SABMR was thrilled that it had been able to get Gracey closer to receiving a transplant. “Our mission is to save lives and provide hope for all patients needing a bone marrow stem cell transplant.”

Visit sabmr.co.za for more information on how you can support the SABMR.

Gracelyn Green with her aunt, Lizel Solomons.