Hayleigh needs help to treat serious illness

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Girl battles life-threatening disease

TWO weeks before her eighth birthday Hayleigh Stals was diagnosed with a rare and life-threatening genetic condition, Fanconi Anaemia (FA).

NEEDING HELP: Hayleigh Stals, right, pictured with her family from left, Mikhayla Stals, Johan Stals and Marlene Stals desperately needs a bone marrow transplant

FA is an inherited anaemia that causes bone marrow failure and can lead to various types of cancers, including Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML), head, neck, gynaecological and/or gastrointestinal cancers.

In order to avoid such cancers, Hayleigh will need a bone marrow transplant. The transplant will cure the bone marrow failure associated with FA, but Hayleigh will have to undergo regular examinations to watch for signs of cancer throughout her life.

Hayleigh is in Grade 2 at Stirling Primary, but has been schooled at home since February and will be unable to return to school until the transplant and treatment processes are completed.

Fortunately, Hayleigh’s younger sister is a good match and the transplant team extended the search to the Bone Marrow Registry and found another donor with a 100% match with Hayleigh.

The donor’s cost starts at about R250000, should medical aid not cover it. The other costs involved, include some of Hayleigh’s hospitalisation and treatments as well as living expenses, as Hayleigh and, either her mum or dad, will have to reside in Cape Town for a minimum of four months.

Due to the various high costs involved, the Stals family are appealing to the public for donations in order to help them give Hayleigh a chance at a full and happy life.

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“Our journey started on 17 March as we travelled to Cape Town to meet with the transplant doctor.

“It is going to be a long road for our family and for her to recover but we are ready to face the challenges,” said her mom, Marlene Stals.

Hayleigh’s first visit with the doctor went well and the family is awaiting medical aid approval for her transplant and donor costs before the transplant can be scheduled.

Through this journey, the Stals family hope to get their little girl back to her happy, energetic self and are grateful for the support and donations they have received so far in order to make this a possibility.

“We could never get through this without the love and support we’ve received from family and friends. We are confident that once she has received her transplant she will be her old self again and possibly even better,” said Marlene.

The Stals family also hope to create awareness about FA and raise funds for the Fanconi Anemia Research Foundation to assist with much- needed research. They plan to be in contact with the Sunflower Fund to help more donors register and raise funds for them.

Anyone interested in making donations or assisting with fundraising for Hayleigh’s transplant, please contact Marlene Stals at marlene.stals@gmail.com or Johan Stals at jjstals@yahoo.com.

For any donations, the account details are: Absa Bank, Beacon Bay, Savings Account, Account Number: 9327108043, Account Name: Hayleigh Stals.

“No matter how big or small, your donation will make a difference. Please help us to give Hayleigh hope,” urged Marlene.

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