A five-year-old in England with a "one in a million" condition who endured housebound isolation last Christmas is set to celebrate the New Year going out with her family.
Myla Mae Hatcher was diagnosed with "severe aplastic anemia" — only cured by a 100-percent match transplant — just before Christmas 2017, and had to stay inside for three months.
However, just 12 months later, brave Myla will this year be able to celebrate the New Year by going bowling and to a party with her proud family.
Aplastic anemia is a rare disease in which the bone marrow and the stem cells that reside therein are damaged, causing a deficiency of all three blood cell types. Myla underwent a horrific three-month spell indoors waiting for a donor after she was given the devastating diagnosis on December 8 last year.
Parents Danielle and Jon Hatcher, both 29, were told a '10/10' match was the only way the youngster could receive a transplant due to the rarity of her condition.
The tortuous three-month search for a match for the "warrior princess" ended in February this year, when the family was given the incredible news a donor was available by staff at Sheffield Children's hospital.
On March 15, Myla, from Sheffield, South Yorkshire, underwent the transplant operation from an anonymous 21-year-old donor. Since then, she has made a remarkable recovery and has started dancing, singing and enjoying life with her friends again — a year on from the most difficult time of her life.
"Last year all she wanted to do was go to parties and see her friends and this year she finally can," her mother Danielle said.
Myla loves singing, dancing and swimming, and she has been able to get her life back following the transplant. But her immune system was so weak when she was diagnosed on Dec. 8, 2017, she had to stay in her home 24 hours a day for three months — only leaving to attend vital hospital appointments.
"It was a very difficult time last year," Danielle said. "She had no immune system at all so we decided it would be best to keep her away from infection. The risk was so high, we only left the home as a family to go to the hospital twice a week, and apart from that, we stayed indoors," she added.
"Any tiny infection could have been life-threatening. Myla had to stop doing what she loved, her singing and her ballet, when we were told the diagnosis," said Danielle.
"The change has been amazing, she is such a fighter."
Due to being housebound, Myla got a special visit from Santa at home last year. This year, however, she has become strong enough to go on a "Santa Express Train" and enjoy Christmas again. Myla even took back to the stage and starred as an angel in her school play.
She is now excited to go bowling on New Year's Eve with her proud family.
"She has been able to go parties again, see her friends and enjoy this time of year," Danielle said. "We are finally a normal family again, we have freedom."
Myla is expecting to continue her incredible recovery, but still visits the hospital for a check-up weekly.
Danielle couldn't thank the hospital staff at Sheffield Children's Hospital enough for what they have done for brave Myla, and the family has been fundraising for the hospital to thank them for their help.
"They have been incredible. They have helped every step of the way and supported us."
Rachael Thomas, Community Fundraising Officer at The Children’s Hospital Charity, said she's touched by the gesture.
“We’re so pleased that thanks to the world-class care at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, Myla is now able to spend Christmas this year doing things every 5-year-old loves," said Thomas.
“Even more heartwarming has been the family’s support for the appeal to transform the ward which treated Myla; ensuring young patients from South Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire and even as far south as Northampton have the best facilities possible”.