4,855 people lined-up in the rain to see if they will be able to donate blood stem cells to 5-year-old Oscar Saxelby-Lee, who is battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL).
The little boy has already gone through chemotherapy, but his doctors need to turn to more aggressive treatments to save him. They have three months to find him a cure, and the urgent call was heard by thousands of people willing to help.
ALL is a type of cancer that affects the bone marrow. A patient will produce too many immature white blood cells called lymphocytes, and they are not able to fight infections very well. As the number of leukemia cells increases, healthy blood cells no longer have room to operate. This causes infections, anemia, and bleeding. If not treated early on, the cancer gets worse and worse. Unfortunately, it is the most common type of cancer that affects children, and it’s quite difficult to treat.
Five year old Oscar Saxelby-Lee from Worcester is being treated for an agressive form of leukaemia. His parents and his school are fundraising and looking for stem cell donors. Hear more on Breakfast with @Elliottjwebb & @toniearlybird pic.twitter.com/KmVueHGn6f— BBC H and W (@bbchw) February 13, 2019
According to Daily Mail, Oscar was first diagnosed with ALL in December, and his family has since been scrambling to find compatible donors for blood stem cells with their “Hand in Hand for Oscar” campaign. He has already had four weeks of chemotherapy and 20 blood transfusions, but the blood stem cells are vital to his survival; they will allow his body to replace their own blood cells that were destroyed by chemotherapy. The difficulty lies in finding someone compatible, so the more candidates the better.
DKMS, the charity who will test donor swabs, said that Oscar’s donor line broke their previous record of 2,200 people. 80 volunteers took over Pitmaston Primary School, where Oscar is in a reception class, and helped handout swabs and complete donor registration forms. With the samples, doctors will try to find a donor whose blood cells are similar to Oscar’s in structure so it’s less likely that his body will reject them.
There are no words to express our heartfelt thanks and love for the thousands of amazing people who have turned up at Pitmaston Primary School this weekend. We have registered 4,855 stem cell donors. The volunteers were incredible ❤️❤️. @OliviaSaxelby @DKMS_uk @worcesternews— Pitmaston Primary (@Pitmastonschool) March 3, 2019
Throughout this process, Oscar has remained a brave and cheerful child. His smiles help his parents continually gain the strength to help him fight his disease. Oscar is a true inspiration to everyone around him, and it showed when more than 4,000 people answered the call to help save him.