‘My baby battled leukaemia thanks to kindness of forty blood donors’

Aila Milne was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia last July when she was just five months old. She had four rounds of chemotherapy of 10 days each, with up to three blood transfusions a day to recover her red blood cells and platelets.

In total she had 40 transfusions from 40 donors, whom her parents credit with saving her life.

A month after her last chemotherapy session, on Christmas Day, Alia was declared cancer free.

She is now thriving at home in Poole, Dorset, with parents Roisin Butler, 29, who is a manager at an optician’s, and Jason Milne, 31, a music student.

Roisin, said: “It was just such a selfless act that saved her, I think giving blood is the kindest thing a person can do. Every time you donate you are saving someone. You saved my daughter and I will be forever grateful.”

A month after giving birth to Aila in February, 2022, Roisin noticed her baby had a cold and breathing problems.

A GP thought she might have a dairy allergy. Roisin said “Poole Hospital booked her an appointment for late September, but I was phoning every day for a closer one.”

Roisin got the appointment for July 22. After tests that day the hospital phoned her in the evening and told her to bring back Aila straight away.

She said: “Two consultants were waiting in a room for us. They told us we were about to have a conversation we’d never forget.”

Doctors informed the couple that Aila had leukaemia and needed to go to Southampton General Hospital.

Roisin said: “We were told Aila was so unwell they didn’t know if she would make the 40-minute journey. I just remember vomiting outside the ambulance.”

A seven-hour MRI scan revealed tumours all over the baby’s skull, and she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia.

Roisin said: “We were taken into a family room straight away, and they told us to essentially bring our families up to say goodbye.”

But doctors were able to get her stable and Aila had her treatment over six months. In January this year she returned home cancer free.

Roisin said: “I feel so lucky that in this country we have people that donate blood for free.

“It’s just so selfless, and I can’t thank them enough.”

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