'I just wish I could watch her grow up': Stem cell match needed to save toddler's life
LONDON, ONT. -- Nineteen-month old Savannah Hill was diagnosed with a rare form of childhood leukemia three months ago.
“It broke my heart because she stopped walking and she stopped eating and she stopped playing,” says Jessica Hill, Savannah’s mom. “It was even hard for her sister because she didn’t know what was going on.”
The family has been at Children’s Hospital in London for the past several months.
Savannah is currently undergoing a number of treatments, including chemotherapy, but what she ultimately needs to save her life is a stem-cell transplant.
“Without transplant, we are looking at an even worse prognosis, so right now we are looking at this as the best results, and best prognosis getting a stem cell transplant,” says Savannah’s dad Lawrence Hill.
However, what’s needed for a successful transplant is a stem cell match with Savannah and that’s not something that is easy to come by.
“We need to make sure to find a suitable match for her and it’s very hard because it’s basically like you’re looking for your genetic twin,” Jessica explains.
Since it’s crucial for Savannah to find a match, the family is holding a stem cell drive this Saturday at White Oaks Mall.
There is also a GoFundMe set up for the family to help cover costs of transportation, nutrition, hospital residence, parking, rent, and more.
There will also be a drive the same day in Windsor at Canadian Blood Services.
“I just wish I could watch her grow up and see the beautiful woman that she would become and how she can help others with her story and show she’s a fighter,” says Jessica.
The family hopes their story will encourage people to take 10 minutes out of their day to come to the drive.
Lawrence says those 10 minutes could potentially save Savannah’s life.
“We are going to move forward day by day one step at a time and we will pray for that match.”
Stem cell drive dates and locations:
- Saturday, Feb. 8 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at White Oaks Mall London, near the Shoppers Drug Mart
- Saturday, Feb. 8 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Canadian Blood Services in Windsor