EastEnders star joins fight to save life of surgeon's child

Arya Lloyd looking to camera

Arya Lloyd, 12, needs a blood stem cell transplant - Credit: Geraint Lloyd

A star of BBC soap EastEnders has joined the appeal to help save the life of a Stevenage surgeon's young daughter, who is in desperate need of a transplant.

Geraint Lloyd – a consultant general, colorectal and laparoscopic surgeon at Lister Hospital – was told in July his daughter Arya has aplastic anaemia. It is a blood disorder which causes the body to stop producing new blood cells needed to carry oxygen, prevent infection and stop bleeding.

Arya, 12, needs a blood stem cell transplant to save her life, but nobody in her family is a match.

A public appeal led to more than 7,000 people joining the donor register with blood cancer charity DKMS, but a match has not yet been found.

Geraint has now joined forces with actress Priya Davdra to raise further awareness. She is working with DKMS to urge more people, particularly from Asian communities, to join the register.

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Geraint said: “Our world was turned on its head when we were given Arya’s devastating diagnosis. 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.”

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Arya’s mixed heritage - half Indian and half Caucasian - makes the donor search very difficult. Just seven per cent of people on the DKMS UK database are of Indian origin and only 0.6 per cent are mixed white British/Indian.

Priya, who plays Iqra Ahmed in EastEnders, said: “It broke my heart when I heard about Arya’s situation, but there is something we can all do to help and it is so simple.

"I am honoured to be a DKMS ambassador and to lend my voice to Arya’s campaign in the hopes we can find her, and the many people like her, a lifesaving donor.”

Geraint said: “We’re at the mercy of others right now. We need their support. We need the public to register in their droves, but we also plead to everyone who has already ordered a kit to please remember to post it back to DKMS."

If you are aged 17 to 55 and in good general health, you can register for a home swab kit at dkms.org.uk/arya.

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