Tina Hodgson is mother of 9-year-old Evie, who was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder, known as aplastic anaemia, in 2020. Evie desperately needed a life-saving bone marrow transplant, so her family started a campaign called ‘Evie Needs a Hero.’ A donor came forward, thanks to the charity, Anthony Nolan, and, much to everyone’s relief, Evie finally had her transplant in January 2021.
“Evie showed her true grit by refusing a nasogastric (NG) feeding tube. The doctors told us that she is one of the youngest patients to go through a transplant without a tube. Yet another achievement!”
A campaign that saves lives
The Evie Needs a Hero campaign became bigger than we could have ever imagined. You can read more about it in the last article I wrote for Womanthology. The campaign has spread worldwide and we are receiving messages from places such as the USA, Australia and Finland. The love and support we have received from total strangers have been heart-warming.
We are extremely proud that due to Evie spreading awareness, she has recruited over 25,000 new stem cell donors. Not only that, she has already recruited four donors that have gone on to donate stem cells and save lives. A truly remarkable achievement for a 9-year-old little girl.
Evie’s anonymous hero
Evie has finally found a stem cell donor after months of campaigning last year. She did this for herself with the help of the charity, Anthony Nolan. We don’t know who the donor is, all we know is that he is a young male. All other information is kept confidential at this stage. However, in a year’s time, we can approach Anthony Nolan and reach out to the donor and start communication, something we would love to do.
Being more than a patient
On 5th January 2021, Evie was admitted to the Great North Children’s Hospital to start her transplant journey.
Not one to sit on her laurels, Evie wanted to do more than be just a patient. Evie had the idea to set up a YouTube Channel to document her transplant journey. Evie wanted to share her good and bad experiences when staying in the hospital, and hopefully show other children what it is really like being in isolation on a transplant unit.
Evie has received messages from all over the world from families in similar situations expressing how much these videos have helped. Evie has also held several Facebook auctions selling her hospital creations for charity with the proceeds going to Anthony Nolan, DKMS and the Aplastic Anaemia Trust. In just four auctions, Evie raised over a thousand pounds.
These fundraising efforts didn’t go unnoticed. Whilst on the transplant ward, Evie was awarded a High Sheriff of North Yorkshire Award, in recognition of her bravery and tenacity and the courageous journey she has faced in the challenges of Aplastic Anaemia. High Sheriff David Kerfoot MBE DL presented Evie with her award via Zoom and stated that she is the youngest recipient to ever receive this award!
Evie’s life-saving bone marrow transplant took place on 15th January 2021 and she was in the hospital for a total of six weeks and four days, which is a very fast recovery! Evie showed her true grit by refusing an nasogastric (NG) feeding tube. The doctors told us that she is one of the youngest patients to go through a transplant without a tube. Yet another achievement!
Taking things slow and steady
Evie is adapting really well to life outside the hospital. We still have to be really careful as Evie is taking immune suppressant medication to allow her new bone marrow to get strong and established.
The downside to this is she is very vulnerable to infections and viruses. Due to this Evie is still isolating but, as her bone marrow gets stronger, restrictions can be eased slowly. It’s a slow and steady process but we have come this far, we don’t want to mess it up now.
A big task for a little boy
Therefore, on 12th June 2021, William took on the epic challenge of cycling 26.2 miles (a marathon) around the biggest man-made lake in Northern Europe, Kielder Water and Forest in Northumberland. A big task for a little boy!
The bond these two siblings have is truly remarkable, and although it has been an extremely tough year for both of them, William was determined to take on the challenge. We are delighted to announce that William raised over £15,000 for the Aplastic Anaemia Trust, Anthony Nolan and DKMS.
Family time is quality time
We want to enjoy the summer and spend quality time back together as a family. We were hoping to take Evie to London this summer (a trip she has been wanting to do for a while) but unfortunately due to COVID, we are now postponing the trip until Christmas.
Evie is hoping to start school again in September which she is really looking forward to. Evie has missed a whole year of school and can’t wait to see her friends again.
Please join the stem cell register and register your details on the database. 90% of the time donating stem cells is very similar to donating blood, it’s that easy and you are literally saving someone’s life!