Life-changing operation for Bridlington teen

Gabby Steele pictured with her mum, Sharon.
Gabby Steele pictured with her mum, Sharon.

A Bridlington teenager is looking forward to a bright future after receiving a life-changing bone marrow transplant.

Gabby Steele, 13, suffers from severe aplastic anaemia, a rare disease in which the bone marrow does not make enough blood cells to maintain a healthy immune system.

Gabby needed a bone marrow transplant in order to live a normal life and an international search began for somebody willing to donate their bone marrow.

The family were told that Gabby’s mixed heritage made the chances of finding a suitable donor more difficult, but against the odds a young man from the UK was found on the donor register who was a match for Gabby.

Gabby was diagnosed with the condition last October and has had to have blood transfusions every week since December.

As part of Gabby’s treatment she underwent a six-day course of chemotherapy before the transfusion could take place.

Things are looking up now though as Gabby received her transplant on 23 March and appears to be making a positive recovery.

Gabby’s mum Sharon, said: “She’s doing really well and showing improvement, her spirits are good, that’s the main thing.

“It’s just a waiting game now, usually they say it takes 6-8 weeks after receiving a transplant before you can go back home.

“The actual process of the transplant takes about 20 minutes, Gabby was just hooked up and it was dripped in, she sat there and played cards with me and her brother as it was going in.

“Gabby lost her hair after the chemotherapy, it came out very quickly, but she’s been wearing scarfs and is looking to get a wig until things start to grow back.”

“She is still receiving blood transfusions and I’d like to ask people to keep giving blood so to help Gabby and others like her across the country.

“It’s all looking good at the moment she’s very strong, Steele by name steel by nature.

“We’re very grateful to the young man who donated his bone marrow, it is an amazing thing to do.”

Sharon is delighted that so many people came forward following an appeal in the Free Press calling for more local blood and bone marrow donors.

If you would like to donate blood or register as a bone marrow donor you can attend the next blood donation session at Emmanuel Church on Cardigan Road, on 13 May between 2.15-4pm or 5-7.30pm.

If you would like to register as a bone marrow donor, you should make clear before getting your finger pricked prior to giving blood, otherwise you will have to wait until the next session.