Donor drive to save life of Stratford firefighter’s four-year-old son
PUBLISHED: 12:00 27 March 2016 | UPDATED: 12:36 29 March 2016
Nigel Simpson and Maxine Francis
Help save Tommy, the four-year-old firefighter’s son diagnosed with cancer, by taking part in a donor drive to find him a bone marrow transplant match.
The only child of Stratford fireman Nigel Simpson and events manager Maxine Francis, Tommy has been in hospital since January after doctors diagnosed him with acute myleoid leukaemia, a life-threatening condition that attacks the blood and bone marrow.
Stratford Fire Station, Romford Road, will host the donor drive alongside the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT), encouraging people to join the UK stem cell register, between 11am and 6pm as part of its Open House day on Saturday, April 2.
Tommy’s mixed heritage makes it extremely hard to find a donor as matching stem cell tissue types are inherited.
Mixed race people have less than a 20 per cent chance of finding an unrelated best possible match, while there are only 3pc of donors on the UK stem cell register who are mixed race.
In a statement, Tommy’s parents said: “Tommy doesn’t have any siblings, so the one in four chance of a sibling being a match doesn’t exist for Tommy.
“It is at best a 50pc chance for parents to be a match for their children; this is normally a route doctors go down when they can’t find anything better.
“We know the window of opportunity for an unrelated match being found is going fast with each day passing; that’s why we are appealing for people to join the stem cell register now. Particularly if you are White Northern European, Black African or Caribbean and mixed race (white/black), you may potentially be able to save the life of our funny and beautiful little boy”.
Also on the day, children will be able to meet with firefighters, try on the uniforms and explore the fire engines. Crews will be on hand to provide fire safety advice and families will be able to book a free home fire safety visit.
ACLT will be registering anyone in good health aged 16-55. Registrants will be asked to complete a short application form and provide a cheek swab.
For more information on the donor registration drive, call ACLT on 020 3757 7700.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Newham Recorder. Click the link in the orange box above for details.