THE heartbroken family of a six-year-old girl who died after fighting a rare form of leukaemia are urging residents to “give the gift of life” by joining the bone marrow register in the new year.
Grieving parents Paul and Nikki Logg, of Castleford, hope townsfolk will sign up to give blood and life-saving bone marrow in memory of their daughter Kayleigh, who died of a chest infection after a brave battle with Philadelphia positive acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) last month.
The Wheldon Infant School pupil needed a bone marrow transplant during her treatment and was given umbilical cord cells after a match was found in Australia.
Her mum and dad hope sharing Kayleigh’s story will encourage others to join the UK register and offer hope to other families facing a nightmare ordeal.
Paul, 35, of Hilltop Close, said: “It’s a moment’s pain for someone else’s lifetime gain. By donating blood and bone marrow, people really can give the gift of life.
“A match was found for Kayleigh really quickly but there are a lot of families out waiting for a match to be found. We hope it’s her legacy that more people join the register and more lives are saved.”
Little Kayleigh was diagnosed with ALL at the age of five after complaining about a painful knee while on holiday in Cornwall with her family in September 2010.
Quick-thinking doctors at the Royal Cornwall Hospital performed surgery to drain fluid off her hip and blood tests confirmed she had the unusual form of leukaemia, which only affects around eight children in the UK every year.
Nikki, 34, said: “It was such a shock, because she hadn’t been unwell – she’d just complained about pain in her knee. It was our worst nightmare. The hospital didn’t do chemotherapy, so straight away Kayleigh was flown on a private flight to Leeds General Infirmary with a doctor, nurse and her dad.”
Kayleigh spent four weeks in hospital receiving chemotherapy and was allowed home at the end of October – and on December 23 last year her family were told her cancer was in remission.
Nikki said: “It had been a long battle, with Kayleigh in and out of hospital with infections, but it was the best Christmas present ever.”
The youngster continued to receive treatment at the hospital and in March was given a bone marrow transplant to boost her chances of survival after a match was found in Australia. She needed a course of radiotherapy before the transplant, then spent 124 days in isolation before being allowed home in June.
Paul said: “She didn’t let things get to her, even when she lost her hair with the chemotherapy. She had a difficult time after the transplant and it was hard to see her go through so much – but she was a fighter.
“She was eventually allowed home, but her immune system wasn’t very strong and it meant she picked up infections really easily and had to be admitted to hospital.”
Kayleigh contracted a chest infection and died on November 9.
Paul said: “She packed so much into her six years – she lived life at 100 miles an hour and always had a smile on her face.”
Nikki added: “She was extremely active – she rarely watched television.
“She loved riding her bike and playing on the monkey bars. She was very popular with her friends, we’d often have a garden full of children who’d come to see her. She was a tomboy, but she was also really girly.”
Paul and Nikki have now joined the Anthony Nolan Trust bone marrow register and want others to do the same.
Nikki said: “All I had to do was give a saliva swab and send it back – it was that simple. I’m now on the register and will hear from the charity if it turns out I’m a match for someone.
“We’ve had so much support from a lot of different charities, which we’d like to thank – including the Sick Children’s Trust, Candlelighters, Macmillan, the Jigsaw Team in Castleford and CLIC Sargent.”
Visit www.anthonynolan.org for more information about joining the bone marrow register.