THE mum of Lochgelly youngster Ava Stark said that she “started to scream” after making contact with her “amazing” donor.

Now Marie Stark, of Sunnyside Place, hopes to meet Juleena Masters after confirmation that her donation of stem cells enabled her six-year-old daughter to undergo a lifesaving transplant in November 2016.

Ava, who attends Lumphinnans Primary School, captured the hearts of a nation when she was diagnosed with inherited bone marrow failure. She relied on blood and platelet transfusions to stay alive while waiting for a bone marrow transplant.

Marie launched 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.

In November – two years on from the transplant – Ava’s family were permitted to make contact with the donor and, after penning an anonymous letter, received a reply from an American woman.

Marie sent Juleena a package charting Ava’s story but, after it failed to be delivered, she took to social media.

“I think I lost patience,” she explained. “We decided to go all out and did a scrapbook, that took weeks to put together, and posted it in March.

"It was sent back, so we posted it again, but it was sent back another time. We contacted Anthony Nolan, who confirmed we had the right address, and we eventually got it delivered. We found out that it hadn’t been delivered because of hurricanes and floods in Tulsa (Oklahoma).

“I searched Facebook and found someone who did a lot of charity work and blood drives, so I had a feeling it was her. She had also checked in to places in Tulsa and Oklahoma, so I thought it was her and sent a message on Facebook.

“When she replied, I started to scream at work. It was a combination of everything and I now have a picture to put to the name.”

She continued: “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. She has a wee boy of a similar age; it’s like a happy ever after. Ava still calls her her hero.”

Marie shared a post from Juleena, which read: “I had the most amazing opportunity in November 2016, the opportunity to save a life.

“Last week I learned my efforts were successful and I was introduced, from afar, to the most amazing little girl, Princess Ava Pie and her mom Marie Stark.

“Marie and Ava have made the world better with their efforts to increase the number of potential donors on the bone marrow registry, raise awareness for both cancer and bone marrow donation, and raise money for the cause.

“They are true heroes. But it sure makes my heart happy to know my small act of kindness has given Ava life.”

Marie added: “I hope this encourages people. While donating may not mean as much to the donor, it’s the most precious gift anyone could give a family in our situation.”

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