A LITTLE girl has been given three weeks to live after a bruise on her leg turned out to be cancer.
Esha Nadeswaran, 4, was diagnosed with leukaemia in May, and now has just days for a life-saving donor to be found.
The youngster’s family have made a desperate appeal for help among the South Asian community.
She needs the specific stem cells to match her ethnicity, but numbers are low on the donor registry.
Her aunt, Meera Visakan, said: “This has been so heart-breaking for the family.
“It all just happened so quickly. Esha said she was tired, lost her appetite and developed bruising on her leg. But then a series of blood tests confirmed the devastating news.”
Little Esha has spent 15 weeks at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
The youngster, from London, has had two cycles of chemotherapy which have sadly been ineffective.
Her dad, Rishya Nadeswaran, 44, said this is Esha’s “last chance”.
He said: “We only found out last week that we need a donor because her first two cycles of chemotherapy have not worked.
“Generally, ethnic minorities are underrepresented in the bone marrow registry.
”Our aim is to try and get as many people as possible signed up during these weeks.
“If we do get a good turnout, and a match can be found, we can have a better population to choose from.
“I want to stress the urgency of trying to find a donor. The process itself takes a few weeks and even if you are able to register on the bone marrow registry, you have to be sent a swab kit and sent it back.
”Once the hospital can confirm that there is match, there are subsequent checks that have to be carried out.
“They have to check that the potential donor does not have any underlying medical diseases. Time is of the essence. This is Esha’s last chance. It’s a harsh reality.”
Acute myeloid leukaemia is a cancer of the blood that starts in the bone marrow and spreads into the blood stream, extremely rare in children of Esha’s age.
According to the NHS website, the signs to look out for include: pale skin, tiredness, breathlessness, frequent infections, unusual and frequent bleeding, such as bleeding gums or nosebleeds.
Henny Braund MBE, Chief Executive of Anthony Nolan says: “My heart goes out to Esha as her family awaits news and Anthony Nolan will support them every step of the way.
“Nobody should be told that, because of their ethnicity, there is less likely to be a matching stem cell donor for them.
“We’re working hard to change this, and are calling on young men aged 16-30 from South Asian backgrounds to join the register. One day you could be matched to a patient in need of a lifesaving stem cell transplant and bring hope to a family like Esha’s.”
Rishya added: “She always brings a smile to people’s faces, very bubbly and cheerful.
“She has had to deal with a lot of unpleasant medical procedures which have been very hard on her physically and emotionally.
“Throughout it all she has managed to fighting on and keep her smile on her face. She is inspiring to us for what she has gone through as a four-year-old.”
The family have set up a website to share the appeal, saying: “She’s a sassy, intelligent, funny and caring girl who puts a smile on those around her.
“Esha deserves a long and healthy life and a stem cell match would change her life.
“There is someone out there who might be the match that we are praying for.
“The procedure to donate stem cells is non-invasive and takes less than 2 minutes to sign up for.”