Jack Petchey Foundation
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Stories we are proud of

Devannshi Mahta

We were very sad to hear that in July 2012, Devannshi Mehta sadly passed away.
In her short life she made such a huge difference –  here is her inspirational story.

"Since the age of five, I have been in and out of hospital with a low platelet count; this meant I had to go to my local hospital and have a blood test every three months. When I was ten my health deteriorated and I was referred to Great Ormond Street Hospital. My blood counts were very low and I needed a Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT). I was only ten years old - I still loved playing with my dolls and doing hopscotch. I didn’t understand what BMT was.

I feel ashamed to admit that I was actually excited and thought I would enjoy all the special treatment. The image that came to mind was one of me surrounded by flowers, chocolate, grapes and balloons. As the treatment began, I soon realised that this was not the case.

My family were tissue typed to see if anybody could donate to me. As it turned out my baby brother, who was only two years old at the time, was the perfect match. He donated his Bone Marrow to me twice. Also, his cord was traced because my mother generously donated it when he was born. It was found, although there was only half of it left. The other half had been used to save another child. It makes me feel honoured that my brother has saved lives other than mine.

After three months, two weeks and six days of chemotherapy, comas, tubes, transfusions, isolation and boredom – I was finally allowed to go home under the care of my local hospital, Northwick Park. Since the transplant five years ago, I have had platelet transfusions there every eight days, and blood transfusions every two months. I have also visited the hospital for coughs, colds and nosebleeds, and I also visit if I am in need of intravenous antibiotics.

I managed to increment my brothers marrow fully however, sadly, the transplant did not work. In January 2010, my lungs collapsed and I was treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital. The doctors revealed that my lungs were severely scarred from the chemotherapy treatment that I had received. I now have Fibrotic Lung Disease – when your lungs slowly stop working and decompose. I have steroid transfusions at Great Ormond Street Hospital every month in order to keep me stable.  

I spend a lot of time at Great Ormond Street Hospital as I often have appointments with my haematology consultant, David Webb and respiratory consultant, Paul Aurora. Even though I am no longer under BMT I am still friends with all the BMT consultants, especially Persis Amrolia and Paul Veys.

I was recently told by my respiratory consultant that my options for treatment were running out and that I am unlikely to survive much longer.

Throughout my illness, I have kept fundraising for Great Ormond Street Hospital and raising awareness about the need for blood, organ and bone marrow donors. I want to highlight the fact that there is a lack of donors from ethnic backgrounds and rid the public of the ‘it’ll hurt’ mentality. I think back to my brother donating when he was so young; surely if he can do it twice over, anybody can. Sadly, some people are unable to donate due to problems with their own health while I have also found that others use religion as an excuse not to do so. I want to make sure everyone knows that none of the world’s major religions say that donating something to someone else is against their beliefs. I’m sure that they would take a bag of blood or an organ if they were in need of it – why can’t they do the same?

The reason I fundraise is that I want to give something back to the hospital that saved my life. I raise awareness because I do not want people to have to struggle to get platelets or blood as I have done in the past. 

Great Ormond Street Hospital is a wonderful place, and although there are constant advertisements on the television, I do not feel that it gets the recognition it needs and deserves. I wish to let people know that while they are moaning and complaining over minor problems, there are children who are fighting for their lives. A transplant isn’t just an operation, it is a lifetime experience.

I want everyone to know what the children are going through, so they can do something about it. I want children to feel special even though they are unwell, even if they have no hair, even if they are all tubed up. I want to be able to raise money to buy equipment, redecorate wards, and provide entertainment – anything that is needed. I want to make a difference.

I can’t be helped now, but I can help others. I hope my story has given you some insight into what I do and the reason I do it."

Best Wishes
Devaanshi Mehta, age 14.


To read Devaanshi's blog log onto: devaanshim.blogspot.com - here you can find information about Devaanshi and previous fundraising events.

To contribute towards Devaanshi's cause of raising money towards Great Ormond’s Street's Bone Marrow Transplant Unit log on to: justgiving.com/devaanshifundraising.

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“I hope my story has given you some insight into what I do and the reason I do it.”
Great Ormond Street Hospital

Fundraising for GOSH