A GLASGOW family is to travel south in a bid to find a donor who could save their little girl's life.
A worldwide search of a million people has so far failed to find a bone marrow match for little seven-year-old Ayesha Siddiqui who has leukaemia.
Her father Nadeem, a cancer specialist, believes the chances of finding a match for Ayesha in Scotland are very slim because she is of mixed race.
He hopes cities such as London and Birmingham, could throw up more potential matches because of the higher proportion of mixed race people.
None of the family, including mum Noreen or four-year-old brother Saif, are suitable.
While 90% of Northern European patients will find a match, only 40% of patents from an ethnic background will.
The family, with the help of charity Anthony Nolan, launched a fundraising drive to pay towards processing potential donors who come forward to be tested for Ayesha and others like her.
It costs £100 for each new person to join the Anthony Nolan bone marrow register. The family has a target of £150,000 and Nadeem believes it may now be nudging £100,000.
He said: "We have been overwhelmed by the generosity."
Nadeem, 50, is planning to organise registration events in English cities in the next few weeks. Another event in Glasgow is also planned, potentially in a West End Mosque.
He said: "I don't want to leave it much longer really. We are also looking to try to do donor drives down south.
"To be honest, I don't think we are going to get a donor in Scotland as there are not enough people of mixed race. Those cities are more likely to find a match."
Ayesha, from Newton Mearns, has a rare form of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia called Philadelphia Positive.
She is waiting to begin her 12th round of chemotherapy at Yorkhill Hospital For Sick Children.
However, the treatment had to be suspended after she developed an infection forcing her to spend last week in hospital.
She has also developed other problems including diabetes.
Nadeem has spoken of the heart wrenching feeling of knowing he can't make his daughter well despite his medical background.
He said: "Never in all my working life – having dealt with women with cancer, many of them young – has it occurred to me that one day I would have to look after my daughter."
Lizzie D'Angelo, spokeswoman for the Anthony Nolan charity, said: "Only 30% of patients will find a matching donor in their families – the rest turn to registers like ours to find them an unrelated match.
"Sadly, for people like Ayesha it is much harder to find that match."
You can volunteer for donating at: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Ayeshaappeal Potential donors must be aged 18-40 and the charity especially needs young men to sign up.
After applying online, if suitable, potential donors are sent a 'spit test' sample to return a saliva sample. Then, unless there are any problems, they are not contacted unless they are a match for somebody. To register see the website www.anthonynolan.org or call 0303 3033000.