A mother from Cumbernauld, Scotland, is on a mission to raise awareness and funds for a charity that supports people with rare blood disorders. Her son, Lewis, was diagnosed with severe aplastic anaemia, a condition that affects only four in a million people.
What is severe aplastic anaemia?
Severe aplastic anaemia (SAA) is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the bone marrow fails to produce enough blood cells. This can lead to infections, bleeding, and fatigue. SAA can be caused by genetic factors, exposure to toxins, or unknown reasons. The only cure for SAA is a bone marrow transplant, which requires a matching donor.
Lewis’s journey with SAA
Lewis, who is 11 years old, was diagnosed with SAA in October 2023, after experiencing bruising, nosebleeds, and tiredness. He was admitted to the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow, where he received blood transfusions and immunosuppressive therapy. He also had to undergo several tests and procedures, such as bone marrow biopsies and lumbar punctures.
Lewis’s mother, Laura, said that the diagnosis was a shock and that she felt helpless and scared. She said that Lewis was a brave and positive boy, who loved playing football and video games. She said that he missed his friends and school, but he was coping well with the treatment.
Finding a donor for Lewis
Laura said that the best chance for Lewis to recover was to find a bone marrow donor who matched his tissue type. She said that the search was difficult, as Lewis had a rare tissue type and there was a shortage of donors from ethnic minority backgrounds. She said that she registered herself and her family with the Anthony Nolan charity, which runs the UK’s stem cell register. She also encouraged others to join the register and help save lives.
Laura said that she was grateful to the Anthony Nolan charity for their support and guidance. She said that the charity provided them with information, advice, and financial assistance. She said that the charity also connected them with other families who were going through similar situations.
Raising funds and awareness for Anthony Nolan
Laura said that she wanted to give back to the Anthony Nolan charity and raise awareness about rare blood disorders. She said that she decided to take part in the charity’s virtual challenge, Walk of Hope, which involved walking 10 kilometers in a month. She said that she completed the challenge in January 2024, and raised over £1,000 for the charity.
Laura said that she was overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness of the people who donated and supported her. She said that she hoped that her story would inspire others to join the stem cell register and help people like Lewis. She said that she was optimistic that Lewis would find a donor and recover soon.