THE family of inspirational Lochgelly youngster Ava Stark have been given the go-ahead to write to the stem cell donor who saved her life.

Six-year-old Ava, a P1 pupil at Lumphinnans Primary, captured the hearts of the nation after being diagnosed with inherited bone marrow failure in 2016 and, unless she had a transplant that would allow her immune system to fight off infection, was at higher risk of developing cancer or leukaemia.

That led to mum Marie, of Sunnyside Place, launching an emotional appeal in the Times to encourage more people to take a simple swab test that could identify a possible donor, and more than 80,000 people went on to register with the Anthony Nolan Trust in a bid to help.

After a potential match had previously pulled out, a matching donor was found and Ava successfully had her transplant on November 25 2016.

In November last year – two years on from undergoing the procedure – Ava's family were allowed to write an anonymous letter to the donor, via Anthony Nolan, and now they have been given permission to write to her directly.

"Deep down, I didn't think we would get a reply back," Marie told the Times.

"We'd spoken to Anthony Nolan a few times and I know that some donors, in their head, just wanted to know if the person survived or not, but we got a reply.

"It was a crazy day. When I read the email, I was crying and started jumping up and down!

"I know that she knows who I am, but I don't know if she's on Ava's (Facebook) page; there are all sorts of questions I am going to ask, but I can say that she is a female from America."

"When I showed Ava, she said 'is that my new friend?, but I said to her that we've got to wait and see, and that we need to send a big letter."

That big letter is set to be in the shape of a scrapbook, charting Ava's story from the beginning, and Marie added: "Anthony Nolan say that it can fizzle out, if some donors don't want any more contact after knowing that the person is OK.

"We're going to send a scrapbook. From start to finish, we have collected all the papers, magazines and articles on Ava, and we've asked for help from different people, like the staff from hospital.

"Even if she (the donor) decides enough is enough, she knows that we're so thankful.

"They gave us extra time, extra laughs and extra cuddles with Ava, and that will never be taken away."

Prior to her transplant, Ava needed weekly blood and platelet transfusion as her body couldn't produce enough red or white cells, or platelets, which triggers clotting.

The Anthony Nolan register matches donors with people who desperately need lifesaving transplants and, to find out more and to join, visit