Success for Match4Tommy as bone marrow match found for Stratford firefighter's son, five
PUBLISHED: 12:56 10 March 2017 | UPDATED: 13:06 10 March 2017
Nigel Simpson and Maxine Francis
The family of a five-year-old boy battling leukaemia have thanked prospective donors for coming forward after a stem cell match was found.
Little Tommy Simpson was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in January 2016, with his parents launching an appeal to find a lifesaving stem cell donor.
His mixed race heritage - his Stratford-based firefighter dad Nigel Simpson is white British and his events manager mum Maxine Francis is black Carribean – meant that the odds of finding a compatible donor were stacked against him.
The couple teamed up with the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT), who launched the #Match4Tommy campaign - and a year on, it has proved successful.
Maxine said: “It means many things to Tommy’s dad and me, to know our son has a matched stem cell donor.
“It means in the event of Tommy ever requiring a stem cell transplant; there would be no long agonising wait to find a match for our beautiful son.
“It means we can move forward, knowing, we have done everything to make sure that whatever happens in the future, our son has all systems in place.
“It means peace of mind.”
Throughout the search, Tommy has been receiving treatment, to which he is responding well.
But should he relapse, having a stem cell donor already found would mean that he could be treated quickly, offering him a much better chance of survival.
Thousands of people signed up to the stem cell register during the course of the campaign, including at a donor drive held at Nigel’s workplace, Stratford fire station, which also raised £700 for ACLT.
Maxine, who lives in Barkingside, will be aiming to raise even more money for the charity when she takes on the London Marathon next month.
She said: “ACLT supported my family and me throughout Tommy’s illness, and I want to raise as much funds as possible for them, to enable them to assist much more families in need with their lifesaving work.
“Thank you to everyone who helped make this a reality for our small family. We couldn’t have got this far without your help.”
To sponsor her, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/MaxineFrancis. For details on how to join the register, visit aclt.org