Indian doctors give Pakistani girl new lease of life

8-month-old infant becomes India's youngest bone marrow donor after saving sister’s life

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Zeenia, a two-and-a-half year old girl from Pakistan diagnosed with a bone marrow disease, got a new lease of life in India. Bengaluru-based Narayana Health City's advance bone marrow transplant facility helped cure the little girl. Zeenia's 8-month-old brother, Ryan, became the youngest bone marrow donor in India to save his sister.

Zeenia was diagnosed with a rare bone marrow disease named Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis when she was only 11 months old. The potentially life threatening condition leads the bone marrow to produce abnormal cells that destroy healthy marrow cells. The only cure for the condition is bone marrow transplant. Considering the child was already diagnosed with partial albinism at birth, her parents were in search of the best treatment available.

Narayana health

Doctors soon found that Zeenia's brother Ryan was best matched for a donor, however, his tender age posed a challenge. All of 8 months old, extracting marrow from Ryan meant following a different set of procedures. Smaller extraction needles were used to draw stipulated dosage of marrow from Ryan twice over a period of few weeks to treat Zeenia. "The case was challenging since the donor was just 8 months old. Ryan now has the unique distinction of being youngest marrow donor in India," said Dr Sunil Bhat of Narayana Health City.

"When I landed in Delhi, I was scared since I was in India but soon realised that the people here are wonderful. From the time I landed till now, each person has been loving. I thank doctors as well as the people of India who made me feel at home. My family is glad that our daughter is completely cured," said Zia Ulla, Zeenia's father.

Zeenia's parents plan on starting a website to create awareness about the illness and possible treatment for it as soon as they return to Pakistan.

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