A four-year-old boy with leukaemia in urgent need of bone marrow will be looking for a match at a donor drive in Croydon tomorrow.
Tommy was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia last month and his mixed heritage makes it very difficult to find someone with the correct stem cell tissue type.
The African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT) will be at the Lucozade Power League tournament in Croydon on Saturday February 20 asking people to join the UK stem cell register as part of their #Match4Tommy campaign.
Tommy’s parents, Maxine and Nigel, said: “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 and black African or Caribbean mixed race.
HAPPY TIMES: Tommy with his parents, Nigel and Maxine
People of Tommy’s ethnicity have less than a 20% chance of finding an unrelated best possible match, with only 3% of donors on the UK stem cell register being mixed race.
Tommy, who is an only child, has been receiving treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital since his diagnosis.
His extended family members have been tested, but so far no match has been found to help him overcome his illness.
Tommy’s parents said: “If anyone is considering coming down then please do come down and do it for Tommy.
“It will be a step closer to finding a donor for Thomas but also for so many others.
“It’s so important to do it because the more people that come down, the better the chances of raising awareness and finding a matched donor.”
The campaign has received lots of attention on social media, with the hashtag #Match4Tommy.
Tommy’s parents said: “You may potentially be able to save the life of our funny and beautiful little boy. He is being so brave, we’re so proud of him.”
ADORABLE: Dressing up in his dad’s firefighter uniform is one of Tommy’s favourite things to do
ACLT co-founder and blood cancer campaigner Beverley De-Gale OBE said: “Twenty years ago ACLT was launched prior to us embarking on a three-year national campaign to find my eight-year old son Daniel an unrelated match.
“The campaign was a success; Daniel went onto to become the UK’s first black individual to receive an unrelated stem cell donor.
“In the same way we were committed all those years ago to find a lifesaving donor for our son, we are committed to raise awareness on stem cell donation in order to find a lifesaving donor for young Tommy.
“It is crucial members of the general public come together to help this vibrant little boy”.
Tomorrow’s donor drive will be the first in a series taking place across London.
If you are of mixed white northern European and black African or Caribbean ethnicity, are between the ages of 17 and 55 and in good health then ACLT want you to go along to the Lucozade Power League where their donor drive will take place.
The event on Saturday February 20 is open to the public 10:30-16:00 at Croydon Hannibal Way, Croydon, CR0 4RW.
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