Time is running out for brave Ulrika Dandekar who is desperately in need of a stem cell transplant after being diagnosed with a rare type of blood cancer.
For Ulrika, aged 21, from Solihull, has been readmitted to hospital after discovering more than 15 cancerous lumps on her body.
She has undergone another round of chemotherapy in the hope of combating the cancer, called Anaplastic Lymphoma, at Heartlands Hospital, and will have to wait at least two weeks before she will find out if it’s worked.
Previous treatment had seen a reduction in the size of another cancerous growth
But during a holiday to Turkey in August, Ulrika, known as Riya, noticed that a small lump on the side of her body, which was thought to be an insect bite, had grown. She explained: “I had been given the OK to go on holiday to Turkey with my mum, but just before going away, I noticed a small lump which looked just like an insect bite.
“The doctors thought it was nothing to worry about but I was given antibiotics.
“However, when we got abroad it just kept changing and growing every day.
“My mum kept taking pictures of it and emailing them back to our doctor to keep him up-to-date with what was happening, although coming back early would not have made a difference.
“Luckily, she had packed extra medical supplies as a back-up, which dealt with the increased pain I was suffering from.” By the time Riya arrived back in the UK the lump was around 5cm and was oozing liquid.
“It was very painful,” she added. “Two days after getting back I was readmitted to hospital, where they started a new regime of chemotherapy.”
Riya needs the treatment to be successful in order to undergo a transplant. Yet she is still struggling to find a match, despite her campaign which has captured the hearts of many people across the UK. The odds of finding a match are stacked against Riya, with just one in 125,000 likelihood of finding a match because of the lack of Asian donors.
Riya’s nightmare began in February this year. She found a lump in her armpit and at first thought nothing of it, but decided to get it checked out by her GP and was eventually given the devastating news.
n If you would like to help Ulrika and are aged 16-30 contact Anthony Nolan on 0303 303 0303 or www.anthonynolan.org. Those aged 16-49 can contact the British Bone Marrow Registry on 0300 123 23 23 http:// www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/bonemarrow. You can also give a mouth swab if you are aged between 18-55 to Delete Blood Cancer, by calling 0203 1767620.