Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

It Was Awful. It Was like the Bottom of Our World Had Fallen out; PARENTS WERE DEVASTATED AT LITTLE PHOEBE'S DIAGNOSIS... BUT HER LIFE WAS SAVED BY HER DAD

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

It Was Awful. It Was like the Bottom of Our World Had Fallen out; PARENTS WERE DEVASTATED AT LITTLE PHOEBE'S DIAGNOSIS... BUT HER LIFE WAS SAVED BY HER DAD

Article excerpt

Byline: CHRIS KNIGHT Reporter chbristopher.knight@reachplc.com @CM_Knight

DIAGNOSED with rare life-limiting genetic condition Fanconi anaemia, medics feared little Phoebe Doneghan was certain to develop leukaemia.

But against all odds, desperate dad Tom proved to a perfect match for a bone marrow transplant which would save the six-year-old's life.

Phoebe was able to celebrate Christmas and the New Year at home in South Shields as she continues her long road to recovery.

And Tom insists the family feel "lucky" after a turbulent year - despite the devastating diagnosis which stands to limit their daughter's life.

He said: "We never imagined 12 months ago that this is where we would be.

"Although we have got this condition and we've had a rough year, it just makes you appreciate everything "We're lucky and thankful." Fanconi anaemia affects one in 130,000 people, and those diagnosed have an average life expectancy of just 30.

The genetic disorder causes bone marrow failures and leads to a predisposition for cancers, and can cause birth and developmental defects.

Phoebe was born a healthy 6lb 11oz at South Tyneside District Hospital, but parents Tom, 32, and Lauren, 35, grew concerned for their daughter as she developed a regular pattern of illness.

She was diagnosed with pneumonia in December 2017 after several GP appointments and visits to accident and emergency.

Medics continued to carry out further tests, and it was only in March 2018 that Phoebe was diagnosed with Fanconi anaemia.

Tom said: "It was awful. It was like the bottom of our world had fallen out.

"We went through the grieving process and felt there was no hope.

"We've accepted it now and we don't want Phoebe to be worried.

"But you can never cure it - it will always be there."

Phoebe's bone marrow failure meant the brave schoolgirl was in desperate need of a transplant to stop her developing leukaemia.

The family were told the best chance of a match was Phoebe's two-year-old sister Harriet, but tests ruled her out. …

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