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Mother appeals for stem cell donor to save her three-year-old daughter

Ava will die unless a perfect stem cell match is found for her Credit: Marie Stark / PA

The mother of a toddler with a potentially fatal condition has begged for people to sign up to offer stem cell donations which could save her daughter's life.

Marie Stark has described her devastation after her daughter Ava, aged three, lost out on a life-saving transplant for a second time.

Ava, of Lochgelly, Fife, suffers from a rare blood disorder and will die without a stem cell transplant - but the donor has to be a perfect match with 10 out of 10 identical genetic markers.

The youngster was due to go ahead with the operation in just 24 hours time when the family were told that the donor had to pull out for health reasons.

Ava Stark with her mother Marie Credit: Marie Stark / PA

Now her 33-year-old mother has urged Britons to get themselves tested for a potential donation in the hope of finding matches for Ava and others with similar conditions.

A stem cell transplant gives Ava hope. It gives her another chance. If her body accepts, it will start doing what it should be doing just now.

I don't even know if there is another match. I'm literally begging everybody to get tested. Even if it doesn't save Ava's life, it could save somebody else's little boy or girl.

– Marie Stark

Ava's current treatment consists of a platelet transplant every week and she gets a blood transplant every three weeks, but medical staff are unable to say how long this will keep her alive unless she gets a stem cell transplant.

She is currently being kept in strict isolation conditions while hospital staff search for another possible match. It means that she cannot even kiss her family - but she still remains upbeat.

Ava has lost out on two potential donor since she was diagnosed in April Credit: Marie Stark / PA

"She doesn't have a care in the world. She's just happy," said Ms Stark. "She saw us crying yesterday and she said to me, 'Mum, don't cry' and she asked if she could give us a kiss because we haven't been able to do that because of the infection control."

Any relatively healthy adult aged between 16 and 30 can sign up for the painless test through the Anthony Nolan Trust while older donors can register through Delete Blood Cancer, which takes people aged 17-55.