Former Sunrise host Samantha Armytage has made an impassioned plea to her followers after receiving devastating news about a close family friend.
The journalist announced on Monday that teenager Maggie Banyard, from Coledale in Illawarra in Sydney, had been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.
The teenager, who Armytage described as a “beautiful 14-year-old girl,” has been “diagnosed with a bloody horrific form of leukemia” and is in desperate need of a suitable stem cell donor, she wrote in her post.
“I know you all have a lot to say about ATM, but please help spread the word: the family is searching for a suitable stem cell donor to save Maggie’s life.”
Maggie was diagnosed after a precautionary appointment with the GP when she was diagnosed with a headache and a sore throat.
After the initial suspicion of tonsillitis, the doctor ordered a full blood test to rule out glandular fever. The result eventually revealed her devastating cancer diagnosis.
A suitable donor for a life-saving bone marrow or stem cell transplant is now being sought worldwide.
Maggie was rushed to the hospital and immediately began a grueling 10-day course of chemotherapy.
She also underwent surgery to insert a line for the chemotherapy drugs and perform a spinal tap – to look for white blood cells “hidden” in her nervous system and also to help with a specific diagnosis.
A website dedicated to the Match4Maggie appeal has information on how people in Australia and abroad can help.
The Banyard family has also campaigned for anyone who can donate blood to help patients like Maggie who depend on blood and plasma transfusions as part of their treatment.
Armytage shared a photo of Maggie along with a graphic asking for the public’s help.
“You could be her perfect partner. That’s why we call on everyone to take action and register as a donor.”
Hundreds responded, pledged their support and pledged to donate their blood and join the bone marrow registry.
The Match4Maggie website is asking Australians to sign up to donate blood at Strengthtogive.org.au and people in the US and UK to sign up for a free swab test.
Originally posted as a former Sunrise presenter, Samantha Armytage shares heartbreaking news