The family of a five-year-old girl in the Ottawa area with a rare blood disease has begun a social media campaign in hopes of quickly finding a stem cell match.
Last month, Hillary McKibbin of Manotick, Ont. was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a rare and fatal blood disease in which the body stops producing enough new blood cells to support life.
- For more information on the swabbing clinic, visit CTV Ottawa
“I don’t want Hillary to leave before I ever get to know her kids and her husband,” Hillary’s sister Alyssa told CTV Ottawa. “I just want a sister and I don’t want her to leave me.”
Hillary’s mother Kelly said doctors originally thought nothing was wrong with her daughter, but she took notice of Hillary’s frequent fatigue and bruising and decided to ask for a second opinion.
“If we would’ve left it, we might’ve lost Hillary,” she said.
Hillary is in urgent need of a stem cell transplant, but none of her family members are a perfect match, meaning the family has been forced to search for outside help.
They are encouraging anyone interested in joining the stem cell registry to sign up at the Canadian Blood Services website, where a swabbing kit can be sent free of charge.
The family is also hosting a swabbing clinic in Ottawa on Monday in hopes of landing a match.
“We want everyone to hear the call, because the more people that join, the better the chances are for Hillary and for many others in her situation,” Kelly said.
Two days after the swabbing clinic -- on Hillary’s sixth birthday -- the family is launching a social media campaign using the hashtag “#StartwithHillary” designed to raise awareness of the need for stem cell donations, particularly among ethnically diverse men between the ages of 17 and 35.
According to Canadian Blood Services, the stem cell registry is 69 per cent white and just one per cent black.
As part of the campaign, Hillary is appealing to Drake and the Toronto Raptors for help in spreading the word.
Hillary has already released a video outlining her story and the plan for the campaign on June 26.