Arya Lloyd: Dad launches global hunt for blood stem cell donor match – could you help save his 12-year-old daughter?

Arya Lloyd needs a blood stem cell donor - are you the one to save her life?

Arya Lloyd on a beach with her father who has appealed for a stem cell donor to save her life
(Image credit: Anthony Nolan)

Arya Lloyd's surgeon father has launched a world-wide hunt to find a stem cell donor for his 12-year-old daughter in a bid to save her life after Covid-19 dramatically reduced the number of donors coming forward.

The seriously ill 12-year-old first complained of stomach pains back in May this year. At first, her parents thought they were growing pains but when the pains failed to go away, Arya was referred to St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London where she was diagnosed with blood disorder aplastic anaemia.

But when doctors revealed her best chance of survival is through a blood stem transplant – her parents father Geraint, 45 and Brundha, 47, were told as donors they wouldn’t be a good enough match.

READ MORE: Stem-cell therapy hailed the treatment for the future, but what are the facts?

At best, they would only be a 50% match and Ayra needs a 10/10 match – and in ordinary circumstances the best match would be a sibling but as an only child, her hope lies with a stranger.

So the hunt in on to find a match - but with lockdown restrictions amid the global health pandemic, the family is struggling to find a donor as there has been a reduction in the number of people coming forward to donate their stem cells.

Speaking to the Press Association, her father Geraint, a consultant general surgeon at the Lister Hospital in Stevenage, said, "Our world was turned on its head when we were given Arya's devastating diagnosis.

He continued, "It is with us always, and we're doing all we can to provide her with a second chance of life.

"I am a surgeon who has spent half my life looking after people with serious medical problems and cancer, but nothing prepares you for this. The world is a very different place now we know Arya is so unwell."

He and wife Brundha, who is a dentist, is working with international blood cancer charity DKMS in search of a donor.

Who would make a good stem cell match for Arya Lloyd?

Arya Lloyd

(Image credit: Anthony Nolan)

But it’s not just Coronavirus pandemic which is making the search tricky. Arya’s mixed heritage – being Indian and Caucasian – makes the search for a donor even more challenging.

Mrs Lloyd has family in America and India, so they’ve launched a global hunt to find a match and DKMS has branches in both countries too so they’ve teamed up to find a suitable donor.

With the UK’s diverse population, patients from a black, Asian or other minority background only have a 20% chance of finding the best possible stem cell donor match, compared to 69% from northern European backgrounds, DKMS said.

Mr Lloyd added: “We’re at the mercy of others right now. We need their support.”

DKMS is seeking potential blood stem cell donors from all backgrounds.

If you are aged between 17 and 55 and in good general health, you can support Arya and the other 2,000 people in need of a lifesaving transplant by registering online here for a home swab kit.

Selina Maycock
Selina Maycock

Selina is a Senior Entertainment Writer with more than 14 years of experience in newspapers and magazines. She currently looks after all things Entertainment for GoodtoKnow, Woman&Home and My Imperfect Life.

Before joining Future Publishing, Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism. She is fully NCTJ and NCE qualified and has 100wpm shorthand. Having spent the start of her career working on local newspapers and online, Selina spent six years as Acting News Editor and Entertainment Reporter at the Scunthorpe Telegraph where she dug into hard news stories, conducted interviews, covered court reporting, features, and entertainment, whilst going to gigs in her spare time.

Whilst at the paper she was awarded an O2 Media Judges' Special Award for helping a terminally ill cancer sufferer realise his dying wish and marry his childhood sweetheart through a successful newspaper campaign. Things like this are close to her heart when it comes to using journalism to make a positive difference in people's lives.

Selina later branched further into all things celebrity to became a Showbiz Writer at Heat magazine, covering red carpet events, showbiz parties, and various launches before going freelance for two years. One of her biggest celebrity achievements - aside from generating celebrity exclusives - was interviewing Take That (including Robbie Williams) and bumping into Simon Cowell so much at events she told him 'I'm calling you my showbiz dad!'

In 2017 she joined TI Media as a senior reporter on Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, Woman's Weekly celebrity desk before branching online in 2020 when Future gave her the opportunity to focus on digital-first.

When she's not interviewing celebrities you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories.