13-year-old girl who needs new blood every month
Buy this photo » ALL SMILES Zaina Khan
ON the face of it, 13-year-old Zaina Khan is just like any other teenager.
She loves boyband One Direction and goes to school with her friends every day.
But once a month, she must skip lessons to undergo a six-hour blood transfusion — because the Essa Academy pupil has the rare blood disorder thalassemia.
Zaina, from Great Lever, was just five months old when she was diagnosed with the condition — a disorder caused by mutations in the genes that make up haemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen around the body.
The life-long condition can result in anaemia, liver disease and heart failure, as well as restricting growth.
The only cure for Zaina would be to have a bone marrow transplant, yet she is still waiting to find a match.
Her mother Nasreen Khan, aged 37, said: “I first realised something might be wrong when she was three months old. She was very lethargic and just couldn’t put on weight.
“When the doctors finally ran some tests that’s when we found out and Zaina has been having transfusions every since. We spend a lot of time going in and out of hospital but Zaina is like any other teenager. She loves One Direction and still goes to school.
“It just means she is very anaemic and has down days — usually before she is due a transfusion. Once she’s had one, it’s like her batteries have been recharged and she’s ready to go again.
“The only cure would be a bone marrow transplant and we’re still waiting to find a match. We’ve all been tested but we’re not matches. We just live in hope that we find a suitable donor and always try to stay positive.”
Now her family are planning a huge Eid bazaar to boost cash for medical research into the condition.
The event will take place today and has been organised by Zaina’s auntie, Zahida Bashir.
All proceeds from the event will go to The North of England Bone Marrow and Thalassemia Association (NEBATA).
Miss Bashir said: “We are always involved in trying to promote awareness of thalassemia. This will be the first charity event regarding thalassemia in Bolton.
"Everyone is welcome as it can affect anyone although there is a higher prevalence in the Asian community."
Families can look forward to a bouncy castle, henna painting, face painting and raffles at the event at the Bolton Nightingale Centre off Rishton Lane.
It will be open from noon to 4pm. For more information, call 01204 528376.
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