Former Sunrise host Samantha Armytage has issued an impassioned plea to her followers after receiving devastating news about a close family friend.
The journalist revealed on Monday that teenager Maggie Banyard, from Coledale in Sydney’s Illawarra, had been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia.
The teenager, who Armytage described as a “beautiful 14-year-old girl”, was “diagnosed with a bloody horrible form of leukaemia” and is in urgent need of a suitable stem cell donor, she wrote in her post.
“I know you’ve all got lots on atm but please help spread the word: the family is looking for a suitable stem cell donor to help save Maggie’s life.”
Maggie was diagnosed after a precautionary GP appointment scheduled when she became ill with a headache and sore throat.
Having initially been suspected of having tonsillitis, the doctor ordered a full blood test to rule out glandular fever. The result ultimately revealed her devastating cancer diagnosis.
A worldwide search is now underway to find a suitable donor for a lifesaving bone marrow or stem cell transplant.
Maggie was immediately rushed to hospital and immediately started a gruelling 10-day course of chemotherapy.
Samantha Armytage called on her followers for help. Picture: Sam Ruttyn
She also had surgery to insert a line for the chemotherapy drugs and to perform a lumbar puncture procedure – to check for white blood cells ‘hidden’ in her nervous system and also to aid a specific diagnosis.
A website for the Match4Maggie appeal has information about how people can help in Australia and overseas.
The Banyard family has also pleaded for everyone who can to give blood to help patients like Maggie who rely on blood and plasma transfusions as part of their treatment.
Armytage shared a photo of Maggie along with a graphic begging members of the public for help.
Maggie urgently needs a lifesaving bone marrow or stem cell transplant. Picture: Match4Maggie
“You could be her perfect match. That’s why we are urging everyone to take action and register as a donor,” it read.
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Hundreds responded pledging their support and vowing to donate their blood and join the bone marrow registry.
The Match4Maggie site asks Australians to register to donate blood at strengthtogive.org.au and for people in the US and UK to register for a free swab test.