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English teen is 'world's youngest stem cell donor' to a non-relative

The girl was inspired to register and donate her bone marrow after a family friend fell ill earlier this year.
Posted By Ananth Baliga   |   Nov. 21, 2013 at 1:38 PM   |   Comments

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Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Victoria Rathmill has become the world's youngest person to donate stem cells to a non-relative, after she was found to be a match for a patient with blood cancer.

The 17-year-old resident of Cheshire, England, joined the Anthony Nolan bone marrow register in February after a family friend was diagnosed with leukemia. A spokesperson with the charity said she was the youngest person to donate marrow to a non-relative. The register is one of just two in the world that accept donors under the age of 18.

"It's just like giving blood. I would do it again because it's not that difficult," said Victoria.

She initially planned to join after she turned 18 but felt urgency after her friend's diagnosis. Victoria said she did not tell her mother at first and only informed her a couple of weeks later. Though initially "taken aback," her mother eventually thought it was a nice idea.

"Victoria's always been headstrong and determined but it never really occurred to me to try and stop her from helping another person in their hour of need. It makes me very proud," said her mother, Paula Rathmill.

Victoria said she is more that willing to donate again, because apart from the pleasure of helping somebody she also got a free trip to London.

[BBC]

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