Calling all sports fans – Could you give a cheek swab to save baby Francis’ life?
Meet baby Francis from Walton in Liverpool. At just three months old, this beautiful boy has been diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer, Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, also known as AML.
When he was six weeks old, his mum, Anna, noticed an unexplained bruise on his arm, and he was given blood tests. When initial tests failed to detect anything unusual, a bone marrow test was conducted after the tot became ill and lethargic.
Then, Anna was told her “joyful” baby who “hardly ever cried” had AML. The biopsy showed that 80% of his bone marrow was cancer cells. Speaking to ITV, Anna said: “Finding out that our baby has blood cancer has completely turned our world upside down.
“You never think something like this will happen to you; you feel so desperate.
“We’re devastated that Francis is having to face something so hard so young.”
Francis has been admitted to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, where he will undergo chemotherapy before being transferred to Manchester Children’s Hospital in November, where he will need to undergo a stem cell transplant. A stem cell transplant is his only chance at a cure.
This is where YOU can help. Francis needs a stem cell match, and all you need to do is give a spit…
The ideal profile for a stem cell donor is a young, fit man. This does not exclude women, older, or unfit people from registering as a stem cell donor – it simply means that this particular profile will yield more stem cells. This is why Cells4Life is reaching out to sports clubs nationwide, knowing their members, supporters, and athletes fit the ideal profile, asking them to share this article and help find a match for baby Francis.
What does donating stem cells entail?
You will receive a kit in the post, and all you need to do is swab your cheeks and spit into a vial to get on the register. If you are a match for someone in need, you will be contacted to arrange to donate your stem cells. Typically, you will be given an injection to increase the stem cells in your blood, and then your blood will be collected in the same way as donating blood. That’s it.
It’s very unlikely you will ever be called upon, but if you are, you could be saving someone’s life; the more people on the register, the more lives will be saved.
Where do you get a kit to register?
You can contact Anthony Nolan, who will accept new registrations from people aged 18-30; once registered, you can stay on the list until you are 61. If you are older than 30 and want to write, contact DKMS, which accepts new registrations from people aged 17-55.
Anna said: “If you can sign up, please consider becoming a stem cell donor.
“You could save the life of someone like Francis and give hope to their loved ones too.”