GENEROUS rotarians from Worcester reached into their pockets to raise £360 to buy toys for a brave three-year-old girl with an extremely rare immune system condition.
Tia Pugh suffers from STAT1 deficiency as well as a tuberculosis-like illness called mycobacterium malmoense, meaning she cannot play with other children and has to have daily anti-biotic treatments.
An appeal has been made to find a bone marrow donor with the hope that a transplant would give her a chance at a normal life, but her mixed race has meant it had proved extremely difficult to find a match.
Worcester Play Council chairman Joy Squires said after she heard about Tia's story she contacted the Rotary Club of Worcester - which celebrates its 90th anniversary this year - to see if they were able to raise funds to buy toys for her.
Although the club is unable to raise money for individuals, members dug into their own pockets to raise £360, which was given to Tia's parents Nick and Yuma in vouchers for Early Learning Centre - who also agreed to give the family 10 per cent off their purchases - on Thursday, March 13.
Worcester Play Council play co-ordinator Sally Wyatt said the group was keen to help Tia learn how to play.
"Because she spends so much time at hospital she doesn't have many toys at home," she said.
"But now she gets a lot of her treatment at home.
"Tia likes playing at cooking so we're going to use the vouchers to buy her a kitchen set as well as a tricycle so her Mum and Dad can push her around."
It is thought Tia could be the only person in the world with a combination of the two conditions, which cause her boils, vomiting, seizures and weight loss.
Her father Nick said the family were travelling to Great North Children's Hospital in Newcastle next week to meet with a team of immunologists and other experts to see if a cure could be found for her condition.
"She will have quite a busy week," he said.
"I'm hoping for good answers from them but if we don't I'll head for the immune deficiency centres in the USA."
Anyone aged between 16 and 30 and in good health can sign up as a bone marrow donor. All that is required is to fill in a form and provide a saliva sample.
Donors of South East Asian and mixed Asian heritage are particularly encouraged to sign up as they are most likely to be a match for Tia.
For more information on becoming a bone marrow donor visit nhsbt.nhs.uk/bonemarrow.
For updates on Tia’s progress search Tia Pugh Immune Deficiency on Facebook.