Girl, 3, relies on blood donors to stay alive

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN - She is only three years old, but Mariyah Al-Qibthiyah Khairol Azmi has been in and out of the hospital every month since she was diagnosed with an inherited blood disorder when she was aged five months.

Mariyah, a thalassaemia patient, relies on blood donations to stay healthy.

A message seeking A+ blood type went viral after Mariyah's mother, Hasliza Hj Hashim, asked a friend to help circulate the message as her blood count was low.

"The response was overwhelming; I received calls that night from people who wanted to donate but the blood bank was closed so they came today." (Tuesday morning)," a thankful Hasliza said in an interview yesterday.

"A few of them were found to be compatible with her blood and I was immediately called and we went straight to the hospital."

The mother of three said Mariyah was able to get a blood transfusion after the message went viral. "A lot of people are still calling that they want to donate blood. I encouraged them to donate not just for Mariyah but for other children who need blood as well.

"I would like to thank the kind-hearted donors in acting fast in donating their blood to save others, especially children like Mariyah."

Hasliza said she noticed her daughter looking pale and weak a few days ago.

Urgently needing blood, Hasliza contacted the Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha Hospital on Monday and was informed that the blood bank ran out of A+ blood type.

"Her appointment was actually supposed to be on Thursday but I couldn't wait especially seeing her lying around like that. She is an open case so we don't know when her blood will be low," she said.

Hasliza said the three-year-old gets check-ups every month when her iron intake is monitored.

"Most of the time her iron intake is quite high so she's on medication at home to remove the iron. She doesn't like it but we have to persuade her to take it because the medicine is expensive. We are fortunate enough to use the medicine as we cannot afford it."

She further said her sister noticed how pale Mariyah was when she was aged five months.

"That's when we went to the hospital to get her checked and her blood was quite low."

"The first time she was diagnosed, doctors had a hard time injecting into her skin because her veins are too fine. But nowadays the process is easier and I am confident to tell the doctors and nurses where to inject," she added.

Hasliza added that she wants to raise public awareness of the blood disease, which can be controlled and those diagnosed with it can live a long life.

"The doctors told me that those diagnosed with this condition can live a long life as long as proper medication is given daily. There are some rare cases when they become teenagers, the blood transfusion stops. So we're hoping one day, the blood transfusion will stop for Mariyah as well."