Preye, who's recovering from sickle cell disease after a stem cell transplant, has wished to go shopping in Paris.
A wish coming true can bring a little sunshine into a child’s life that has been dominated by pain and trauma. Please help Preye by sponsoring her wish to go shopping in Paris.
Fourteen-year-old Preye from Leicestershire wishes to visit Paris with her family. She loves expressing herself through design, and enjoys drawing up fashion and interior design ideas in her book. In Paris, she’d like to explore the world-class shops and iconic buildings.
A symbol of strength
Preye told us, “Paris symbolises strength and hope for me. It has encountered terrorism, natural disasters and political unrest, but the people have come together and made it an even more beautiful place. That is really inspiring for me.”
When she was born, Preye was diagnosed with sickle cell, a life-threatening and painful disease causing debilitating episodes when an area of the body becomes starved of oxygen. Her first sickle cell ‘crisis’ happened when she was three, and as years went by they got progressively worse, happening every few weeks and lasting up to 10 days.
If a crisis affected her arms and legs, she was unable to walk and left screaming in pain. Doctors struggled to suppress Preye’s pain, and often could do no more than monitor her oxygen levels and wait for it to pass.
Preye’s mum, Norah, adds, “Preye has learnt to mask her pain, she is very strong and it takes a lot to make her cry. It’s heart-breaking and very sad for me as a mother.”
Life became a cycle of blood transfusions, medication, and appointments. Preye says, “I always tried to remain positive, but the disease really affected me mentally. I found myself thinking “Why has this happened to me? Why can’t I be normal? I was missing being in school with my friends and my whole life was dictated by my illness.
A life-saving transplant
“The doctors told me that a stem cell transplant could save my life, but it could mean I wouldn’t be able to have children when I’m older, my body could reject the transplant, and it could even kill me.
It was a huge decision, and took me a few years before I agreed. My thirteen-year-old sister was a 100% match, and she was courageous enough to be my donor.
“It was a very high risk operation for us both. But the transplant was just the beginning of my recovery. Afterwards, I had to have chemotherapy and lived in isolation in hospital for months. No matter how much I ate, I kept losing weight, and dropped to 53 kilos. I could feel my bones everywhere and was so uncomfortable.
A glimmer of hope
“One of the nurses saw I was upset and struggling, and she told me I should apply to
Make-A-Wish. When I was told my wish could be granted, I was so excited and I feel really grateful.”
Mum, Norah, explains, “I’m so proud of Preye’s bravery. I was really unsure about the operation but Preye and her sister were certain. She was always there for me and made it easier, it should have been the other way around but she is so tough!
"Preye did so much research on the transplant and she was so confident. But after the transplant, she was frustrated and felt a lot of regret. It was difficult for her to understand why she was still so sick and caged up, battling infections and illnesses as a result of the transplant.
The promise of getting better came with so much trauma. She lost the will to go on and I had to keep pushing her to remind her the worst bit was over. It wasn’t until January this year that she was given the all-clear. It has been such a long journey.”
Road to recovery
Preye adds, “My stem cell transplant was a success, and my sickle cell disease is completely gone now. It feels amazing. The best thing about being well is being able to live normally. I can study for my exams and see my friends, and now my wish to go shopping in Paris is going to come true, and I can’t wait.”