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Family urge public to help save teen son diagnosed with leukaemia and in need of bone marrow match

A COUPLE has asked the public to help save their teenage son who has been diagnosed with leukaemia and is looking for a one in 10,000,000 chance bone marrow match.

Anne and Paul Greer have launched an appeal asking for people to sign up the transplant donor list following Daniel’s diagnosis earlier this month.

Daniel, 14, from Newry in County Down, Northern Ireland, went to his GP last month after experiencing extreme back ache for several days.

Daniel with brother James in hospital.
Daniel with brother James in hospital.

The doctor did some emergency blood work and later called Anne, 46, after becoming concerned by the results.

Daniel was then taken to Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children (RBHSC) where samples of the youngster’s bone marrow revealed he had acute myeloid leukaemia.

The popular schoolboy has remained in hospital since where he has undergone chemotherapy and numerous blood and platelet transfusions.

However, doctors have said that a bone marrow transplant is the only chance Daniel has of beating the disease.

Daniel’s family are now urging members of the public to register with international nonprofit bone marrow donor center DKMS to hopefully find a match for Daniel.

Speaking today, mum Anne said: “Daniel had complained a little bit about having a sore back but I thought it might just be the weight of carrying around his schoolbag.

“On the rare occasion he might take a few paracetamol but he was usually alright then one day he was wincing and said his back was a bit sore getting into the car.

“I took him to the GP on the 30 May because he was complaining about his back but then on a Saturday he was asking to lay down on the couch with a hot water bottle and I just thought something’s not right.

“The GP took some urgent bloods and then they informed me that the bloods looked a bit worrying and we needed to get ourselves to Belfast to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children (RBHSC).

“When we arrived they did some more bloods and confirmed it looked like acute myeloid leukaemia but would not be able to confirm until they got bone marrow from Daniel.

“It’s devastating, acute myeloid leukaemia doesn’t really respond well to chemotherapy and so we are hoping to find a donor soon.

“His older brother James has only got a one in four chance of being a match so that’s how important it is for others to be signing up to be on the registers.

“If you imagine a football stadium full of 75,000 people then maybe 80 of them would get called up.

“It takes around six to eight weeks to get on the donor lists and we really don’t have time as they are hoping to do the transplant between the middle to end of August.”

She added: “Daniel has had to be in isolation since the 31 May and has had intense chemotherapy already so he’s decided to shave his hair along with his dad and brother.

“He’s lost weight, he is not eating but he still has a great sense of humour and such a positive outlook.

“I would say to people if it were your son, daughter, mother or father and you were told that someone somewhere has the cure for them between living and dying would you take it?

“If the answer to that question is yes then you need to be on this register, you can save somebody’s life.

Daniel with mum Anne
Daniel with mum Anne.

“It is a little ask but it is the world to us, to keep our child alive.”

Daniel’s dad, Paul, 50, said: “We recently learned that a bone marrow transplant is his only chance of beating leukaemia.

“The odds of getting a bone marrow donor match is 1 in 10,000,000.

“It takes a number of weeks to have your saliva sample processed and put on the donor register at no cost to you.

“Daniel does not have that time to spare.”

Daniel’s cousin has set up a website called doitfordaniel.net which explains Daniel’s story and how people can help.

There are several different organisations that specialise in bone marrow donation including Anthony Nolan and DKMS.

Young men between the ages of 16-30 make up just 18% of the register for Anthony Nolan but provide over 55% of all donations.

Last year, Anthony Nolan helped 1,300 people receive a stem cell transplant.

To register with DKMS, please visit https://www.dkms.org.uk/register-now.

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