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Ayesha appeal hits £200k and is set to keep growing

BRAVE Ayesha Siddiqui's family have smashed their £200,000 fundraising target.

The Ayesha appeal has smashed the £200,000 mark

But the celebrations are tinged with uncertainty as the youngster, who was diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia three years ago, is having to undergo further chemotherapy.

The nine-year-old's parents, Noreen and Nadeem, from Newton Mearns, say it is likely that she will need a bone marrow transplant.

Now Noreen has issued a plea to say they are "looking for heroes" to save Ayesha's life by registering as potential donors.

The 49-year-old, who is a former Evening Times Scotswoman of the Year finalist, said: "We've always encouraged people to look into becoming a donor, we want to get this message across again."

The money raised for Ayesha's Appeal will go to the Anthony Nolan Trust, which helps leukaemia patients find a match for a stem cell, bone marrow or cord blood transplant.

After reaching their target the fundraising will continue - but now the family want to give something back to Yorkhill Hospital.

Noreen said 75% of future funds will go to the hospital's Schiehallion Ward, which cares for young people with cancer, with the rest going to Anthony Nolan.

She said: "We can't believe we've got this far -it's unbelievable how generous people are.

"Going forward, we'd like to give something back to Yorkhill and specifically the Schiehallion, which has been so good for Ayesha."

Despite the news from Ayesha's doctors that she needs to continue her fight against the illness, Noreen says everyone is positive.

She said: "Ayesha is exactly the same as she always is - she's cheeky and mischievous.

"When people meet her they're quite surprised -you wouldn't know what she's had to go through.

"She's been through so much and is still smiling."

The fundraising news came after the family were given a boost when they took part in the Queen's Baton Relay.

Noreen and Nadeem, who are also parents to Ayesha's brother Saif, six, carried the baton through East Renfrewshire on Wednesday.

Noreen said: "I had originally wanted to nominate Ayesha, but she was too young.

"I ended up nominating Nadeem and just as I was doing that I was told that I had been nominated."

Kirsten Sinclair, Head of Fundraising at the Yorkhill Children's Charity, said: "Ayesha's family and friends have raised an incredible amount so far, and we are very thankful that they have now chosen to support Yorkhill Children's Charity, in particular the Schiehallion Ward where Ayesha is treated.

"Ayesha is an incredibly inspirational little girl who is well known in Yorkhill, and we are thankful to everyone who supports Ayesha and her family."

rachel.loxton@ eveningtimes.co.uk

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