The two-and-a-half-year-old Zeenia, hailing from Sahiwal in Pakistan, was suffering from Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), a rare disease in which bone marrow produces some abnormal cells which eat away the normal cells, resulting in high fever, low blood counts, liver, and spleen enlargement, doctors said.
The only cure for the disease is bone marrow transplant, doctors told the Hindustan Times. "Then by using small marrow extraction needles and with the assistance of our able team of anesthetists and others, we successfully extracted enough marrow to help cure Zeenia", explained DR Sunil Bhatt, senior consultant and head of the Paediatric Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant unit at the Mazumdar Shaw Cancer Centre, Narayana Health City.
Rayan has not only saved his sister but he also has the unique distinction of being the youngest marrow donor in India. She will need to go for follow-ups there.
Zeenia had earlier undergone treatment at a hospital in Rawalpindi. The family also intends to remain in touch with the doctors and regularly update them about Zeenia's health. Zeenia and Rayan's father said before coming to India they had lot of apprehensions both medically and nation wise, but once he landed at Bangalore airport, things became normal for him. She said they chose to take the risk when it was found they were matching siblings.
Dr. Bhat said Narayana Health sees about 40-odd patients from overseas getting transplants every year which amounts to 30 to 40 percent.They come here because of non-availability of treatment in their respective countries, and cost worthiness compared to the United States and Europe, he said. The division, which was doing on an average 60-70 transplants per year when started, is now doing about 150 per year.