11 May, 2017 @ 11:43
2 mins read

Mallorca expat British family’s plea for blood to save young daughter’s life

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PLEA: Family appeal for

A BRITISH family have made a heartfelt plea for blood to help save their daughter’s life.

They urgently need donors of the type O Negative, as Mallorca runs desperately low on supplies.

PLEA: Family appeal for blood for ill daughter
PLEA: Family appeal for blood for ill daughter

It comes after 11-year-old Serena Chappell found out she had leukaemia following a random test last month.

The Mallorca-born girl – a keen dancer, who is trilingual – had been complaining of having no energy and began to look increasingly pale.

Doctors at Son Espases hospital discovered the ‘normally energetic girly girl’ had leukaemia in just four hours and she was immediately rushed in for a blood transfusion.

But, now it has emerged there is a desperately low supply of her blood type and few people are eligible to donate due to a ruling over Mad Cow disease.

Her father John Chappell, 34, appealed to big hearted Olive Press readers to come to the rescue.

The removal man, from Yorkshire, who now lives in Valldemossa with wife Sarah, said: “Serena is doing amazingly, but needs as much help as she can get.

“She is brave and strong and is facing many of her fears, especially needles, which have been a massive issue for her before.”

The father, who has been by her side in hospital for the last two weeks, added: “We have started to cut her hair shorter as she will lose it from chemotherapy and she knows everything that is happening with her treatment and diagnosis.”

As well as frequent blood transfusions she has had an eight-day chemotherapy course and bone marrow and lumbar punctures.

“We are in intensive care right now and treatment continues, but the hospital is now very short on her type of blood and she needs more,” added her father.

The main issue is that getting the type has been hampered by legislation.

Chiefly, if you lived in the UK for more than two years between 1980 and 1996 you can’t donate the blood in Spain due to a risk of carrying traces of Mad Cow’s disease, which rocked the UK back then.

“As they do not test the blood here they simply refuse to accept it,” explained Chappell, “Even if we pay privately for the tests they will not accept the blood.”

Chappell says the whole family is remaining strong for Serena while having tests to see if they are a match for a potential bone marrow transplant.

“Her little brother misses her terribly and juggling time is tough right now, but we are getting there.”

Serena, who is a dancer in her free time, is said to be doing ‘ok’ after her chemotherapy and is hoping to be in her own room soon, but she still needs around the clock attention.

“Please find it in your hearts to donate,” added Chappell, “The blood that comes to the hospital can’t be guaranteed for Serena but it does have a good chance.

“In any case it’s not just for Serena, many other children in the hospital may also need blood, so this will help them too.”

Blood donation can be done at the Hospital Son Espases on Thursdays from 8.30am to 3pm planta O module F, or at the Red Cross Palma from Monday to Friday.

You can also donate at the Banc de Sang i Teiits on Carrer de Rosselló i Caçador, 2 from Monday to Friday 8am to 8.30pm and Saturdays 9am to 1.30pm.


Laurence Dollimore

Laurence has a BA and MA in International Relations and a Gold Standard diploma in Multi-Media journalism from News Associates in London. He has almost a decade of experience and previously worked as a senior reporter for the Mail Online in London.

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  1. I wish I could help Serena. Unfortunately, although O neg, I am too old, (69), lived in the Uk for some of the years mentioned and live in La Cala de Mijas. Also many Brits do not know their blood group. I was a blood donor for 40 years and know (in Canada) who my blood helped. Please – anyone out there in Majorca – go to one of the centres and get checked out. Only 5% of the world’s population have O Neg so donation is really really important. Meanwhile I will say some prayers for this little girl.

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