THE mum of brave Lochgelly youngster Ava Stark said that tracking down the donor that saved her life was "like a happy ever after".

Marie Stark, of Sunnyside Place, said that she "started to scream" after receiving a message from Juleena Masters, who lives in the United States, confirming that she donated stem cells that enabled Ava to undergo a transplant in November 2016.

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

After an emotional appeal in the Times, a donor was eventually found that allowed Ava to successfully have a transplant and, in November last year, the family were allowed to write an anonymous letter to the donor via the Anthony Nolan Trust.

That led Marie to tracking down Juleena, a social worker for military veterans in Oklahoma, and she said: "When she replied back, I started to scream at work.

"We've been regularly messaging each other since then and I can't describe it; we've been speaking like we've been friends for years. It's crazy to think that she saved Ava's life.

"It's like a happy ever after."

Marie, who said that she hopes the family will eventually have the chance to meet Juleena, added: "I don't think Ava realises she stays on the other side of the world.

"We went to see Aladdin recently and she asked if Juleena was coming.

"She doesn't call her by her name; she still calls her her hero."