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Little Girl Given Only 10 Hours to Live, Only Kept Alive Thanks to Strangers’ Blood

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Some problems sneak up on you — and some reach out, grab you by the shoulders, and give you a good, hard shake. The ordeal faced by Francesca Bower of Sunderland, England, definitely falls into the latter category.

When Francesca was pregnant with her fourth child, little Chloe Gray, she learned at 20 weeks gestation that something was wrong with her baby. Doctors discovered that she had fluid in every single one of her internal organs.

Even her brain was encapsulated in fluid. Chloe’s condition was so severe that physicians only gave her 10 hours to live once they discovered it.



They tried a stop-gap fix, though, and it seemed to work at first. She received two blood transfusions while still in utero.

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When the tiny girl entered the world five weeks early, she received yet another transfusion, one designed to fully flush all of the blood produced by her body.

“They hoped that would fix it,” Francesca told the Evening Chronicle, “but at three-weeks-old, she was rushed into hospital and we nearly lost her.”

That was when physicians discovered the illness that was trying to claim Chloe’s life.

She had diamond blackfan anemia, a disorder that leads to a deficit of red blood cells and is so rare that there are only 700 confirmed cases worldwide.

“To look at her, you wouldn’t think there was anything wrong with her, but she is in a lot of pain all the time,” Francesca explained to The Scottish Sun. “She has to take regular morphine, she’s tube fed, [and] she’s constantly in hospital with infections.”

Indeed, for seven years, Chloe has only been kept alive thanks to regular transfusions of strangers’ blood. But that has presented its own challenges.

Francesca said, “Every time she gets a blood transfusion, she gets iron, so she now has an iron overload, which we’ve now found out has started damaging her liver.

“It’s heartbreaking to watch. Her whole life she’s dealt with illness hospitals, and it’s becoming quite a lot for her to deal with.”



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But Chloe isn’t without hope. Specialists have said that a stem cell transplant could reverse the illness, and though none of Chloe’s three siblings are a match, her parents haven’t given up hope.

They’ve partnered with the nonprofit Anthony Nolan, which maintains a stem-cell registry, and participated in a public campaign to grow its ranks. They hope to soon find a suitable donor.

Even given all her challenges, though, Chloe still finds time for fun. Last October she was able to see a Sunderland football (i.e., soccer) team match from the comfort of a private box.

We hope all the best for this family who’s already been through so much. Stay strong, Chloe!

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
Education
Wheaton College
Location
Florida
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Entertainment, Faith, Travel




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