Two years ago, 5 year old Kaiya Patel from Rickmansworth was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Kaiya was in desperate need of a stem cell transplant so her family launched a huge awareness campaign, appealing for members of the South Asian community to have their blood tested to see if they would be suitable donors. Kaiya’s story touched the hearts of many and over 40,000 new donors registered as a result of the “Cure Kaiya” campaign.
A donor was found and Kaiya underwent a transplant at Great Ormond Street in August 2018. But after the operation she contracted the adenovirus in hospital which attacked her kidneys and liver. Kaiya fought an incredible battle lasting longer than any other child treated for the same affliction but she could not overcome the virus due to her depleted immune system and passed away in January last year.
Kaiya has left an everlasting mark on each of us who were lucky enough to have known her and all those who heard her story. Though she is no longer with us, we intend on continuing her message and hard work to help families in a similar situation and raise awareness for cancer research.
This September will be Kaiya’s 8th birthday and to celebrate her life and memory, a group of us will be running 8km everyday for the month of September to raise money for Cancer Research. If you would like to support us please visit our just giving page.