Baby Shivanka: Getting ready for transplant

By Kumudini Hettiarachchi

The ‘Bubble Baby’ of Sri Lanka-- who is two months old today-- has undergone a battery of tests at the Apollo Speciality Hospital in Chennai, India, with the doctors confirming the diagnosis here that he is suffering from Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) Syndrome.

All the pre-bone marrow transplantation work has been completed, says Apollo’s Consultant in Paediatric Haematology, Dr. Revathi Raj who is handling baby Sanjana Praveen Shivanka, in an e-mail to Dr. Vajira H.W. Dissanayake of the Human Genetics Unit of the Colombo Medical Faculty.
“The HLA high resolution typing will be ready on Friday. I will then be able to decide which is the best-matched cord,” she says, assuring an update this week.

Baby Shivanka ‘captured’ at the airport by M.A. Pushpa Kumara

HLA typing is a series of tests done before a transplant to determine how closely the tissues of the donor and recipient match, explains Dr. Dissanayake.

It was on Saturday, September 4, that baby Shivanka and his parents K.B.N. Damayanthi and K.W. Neil Anura Shantha of Dippitigala, Lellopitiya in Ratnapura took wing to Chennai on UL Flight 123.

This was made possible because you our reader rallied round to swell the fund (Account 0007283471) at the Bank of Ceylon, Lake House Branch) set up by the Sunday Times. As of Thursday, the collection stood at Rs 5.1 million.

The concern for “our baby” in whose name people from far and wide – Colombo, Ratnapura, Matugama, Kandy, Jaffna, Wennapuwa, Batticaloa….. deposited their donations – continues.
Through phone calls and gestures, they show that they care -- a poignant moment arising when a person had met Dr. Dissanayake to offer the baby his own bone marrow.

Thank you is all we can say to this overwhelming response, with a promise that we will keep you updated on the baby’s progress.

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