British expat parents in Spain appeal for O negative blood

Published:  12 May at 6 PM
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A British expat family living in Mallorca are appealing for O negative expats to donate blood to save their daughter’s life.

Originally from Yorkshire and now living in Valldemossa, John Chappell and his wife Sarah have appealed through the local English language newspaper Olive Press for expats with O negative blood to come forward and donate. Their Mallorca-born daughter Serena was diagnosed with leukaemia after a random test last month, and is now seriously ill in hospital.

11 year-old Serena, trilingual and a keen dancer, recently began saying she had no energy and was becoming increasingly pale, leading her parents to take her to Son Espases hospital for a check-up. After a test, they were horrified to be told their energetic little girl had leukaemia and needed an immediate blood transfusion. On finding her blood type was O negative, doctors warned Serena’s parents there was a severe shortage of that type as few people are elegible for donations due to a law involving Mad Cow disease.

John immediately contacted the Olive Press and the search for donors began. He told reporters his daughter is doing as well as could be expected, but needs all the help she can get, adding she’s facing up to her fear of needles. To date she’s received frequent blood transfusions and undergone eight days of chemotherapy as well as lumbar punctures and bone marrow extractions. She’s in intensive care, and the supply of blood is now running out.

Would-be donors who’d been resident in the UK for over two years between 1980 and 1996 aren’t allowed to donate blood anywhere in Spain due to the risk of Mad Cow disease but, as Spain does not test donated blood, hospitals often simply refuse to accept donations. Her parents are urging those who could help to come forward, adding the blood isn’t just for their daughter as there are other children in the hospital needing transfusions. Blood can be donated at Red Cross Palma Mondays through Fridays, at the Son Espases hospital every Thursday between 8.30 am and 3 pm or via the blood donation bus which travels around the island.

Source: Olive Press
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