Kaiya Patel, from Rickmansworth, southwest Hertfordshire, was five years old when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in March 2018.
Following her diagnosis, Kaiya spent four weeks undergoing chemotherapy treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Her parents were told she would need a bone marrow transplant to survive , and due to her ethnicity she had just a 20.5% chance of finding a match.
Her family led a campaign aimed at raising awareness of stem cell donation which inspired thousands to join the donor register. An anonymous female donor was found and Kaiya underwent a transplant in August. However, after the operation she contracted a virus in hospital which attacked her kidneys and liver. She sadly died on 13 January this year, aged six.
Kaiya’s cancer journey has since inspired the charitable efforts of law firm Ropes & Gray. A pro bono fundraising scheme involving 600 lawyers, including Kaiya’s father Ruchit Patel (a partner at the firm’s London office), has raised £50,500 for Children with Cancer UK in Kaiya’s memory.
Ruchit Patel said:
Kaiya told us so many times after she got sick that she wanted to dedicate her life to helping other cancer sufferers. She can’t do that in her physical form anymore, but I am certain that she looks down delighted that she galvanized this effort.
Children with Cancer UK Acting CEO Mark Brider said:
Children with Cancer UK was deeply saddened to hear of Kaiya’s death and we are incredibly grateful to receive this generous in memory donation. Around 4,500 children and young people are diagnosed with cancer every year in the UK, with 250 sadly losing their lives to the disease. This legacy, in Kaiya’s name, will enable us to continue to invest funds into vital lifesaving research which looks at causes, prevention and treatment of childhood cancer in the hope that one day no child will die of cancer.
This year Ropes & Gray pledged to donate £80 to Children with Cancer UK in Kaiya’s memory for every lawyer who met a 20-hour pro bono goal by 30 June.
David Chapin, managing partner of Ropes & Gray said:
I am so pleased that our firm’s donation will continue work inspired by Kaiya and go towards funding childhood cancer research to help other children and families facing this disease. I am also extremely proud of the work so many of our lawyers did to meet this pro bono challenge.