A five-year-old boy underwent a stem cell transplant after a record-breaking 10,000 people came forward to test if they were eligible to become a donor.
Oscar Saxelby-Lee was in a race against time when his aggressive form of leukemia deteriorated in February this year.
He won the heart of the nation when his parents Olivia Saxelby (23) and Jamie Lee (26) desperately appealed to the public to save their son within three months.
It led to a staggering amount of donors being tested in the UK, including 4,855 people waiting for hours in his hometown of Worcester.
Oscar – the nickname Bear by his parents – was given permission to receive the transplant when a match was found.
On Wednesday, his parents said the operation was a success and they have every hope that the & # 39; special cells & # 39; their & # 39; beautiful & # 39; rescue a boy diagnosed at Christmas.
Oscar Saxelby-Lee has undergone a stem cell transplant after a record-breaking 10,000 people came forward to test if they were eligible to become donors. His parents posted this photo of him in the hospital on Facebook on Wednesday, which was taken at an earlier date
A total of 4,855 people lined up in the rain for hours in Oscar & hometown Worcester to see if they were eligible to become a donor
Oscar was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia after bruising turned out to be cancer on December 28 last year. Pictured before his diagnosis in school uniform
In a Facebook post on & # 39; Hand in Hand for Oscar & # 39; on Wednesday, May 29, Oscar's parents wrote: “Thanks to everyone who registered and to Oscar's personal donor who gave him a life-saving transplant.
& # 39; It was a very emotional day here in department 19, but also a very happy day.
& # 39; These cells are special, the most special blood cells we have, and we have every hope that this will save our beautiful boy.
& # 39; We can't wait until Oscar rings the bell and meets his donor. Here is a new marrow, a new beginning and a new adventure. & # 39;
Oscar was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia after bruising turned out to be cancer on December 28 last year.
His desperate parents called for a match after doctors told them they only had three months to find a match.
A record of 4,855 people stood in line for hours and were tested after Oscar & # 39; s teacher Sarah Keating had an open day at Pitmaston Primary School in Worcester.
DKMS, the charity testing the swabs, said its previous record for the largest number of people to participate in a registration event is 2,200 people.
During a series of other events in the UK, groups of people volunteered to be tested.
In March it turned out that a match had been found and tests in April showed that Oscar had no cancer cells in his bone marrow after his chemotherapy. That meant that a stem cell transplant could take place.
Oscar had undergone chemotherapy at the Birmingham Children & # 39; s Hospital, where his stem cell transplant was reportedly taking place.
Parents Olivia Saxelby and Jamie Lee said the operation was a success and they have every hope that it will be their & # 39; beautiful & # 39; boy will save. Pictured celebrates his birthday in February in the hospital
In March it turned out that a match had been found and tests in April showed that Oscar had not left cancer cells in his bone marrow after his chemotherapy, which means that a stem cell transplant could take place. Depicted in the hospital
Volunteers and potential donors took over two halls in March at Pitmaston School in Worcester
Worcester Mayor Jabba Riaz swabs his mouth with two buttons during the event in Worcester where more than 1,000 people dropped out
HOW DO STEM CELL TRANSPLANTS WORK?
As a treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), stem cell transplants work by replacing blood cells that have been affected or destroyed by chemotherapy.
Having a stem cell transplant means that the body can withstand higher doses of chemotherapy and other cancer treatments.
During chemo, while cancer cells are destroyed by the medication, healthy blood cells are also needed to make the internal organs and immune system work properly.
If too many of these are destroyed, it can be fatal, so doctors have to check how much chemotherapy someone has – they want to destroy as many cancer cells as possible without killing a deadly amount of healthy cells.
Having a donor means that cells that have been killed by chemo can be replaced with donor stem cells – which are converted into red and white blood cells after being injected into the body – allowing the patient to recover faster from debilitating therapy.
Stem cells are taken from a donor's blood sample, so are preferred to bone marrow transplants, which must be performed under general anesthesia.
Source: Cancer Research UK
Oscar has now received the stem cells, the hope is that the new cells, derived from blood taken from the matching donor, will produce healthy blood cells.
Miss Saxelby said earlier: & # 39; We felt we could not see any light at the end of the tunnel, but when we looked at Oscar & # 39; s cheeky smile, courage and determination, we managed to regain our strength to bring each other.
& # 39; From that moment of fear and confusion, we as a family became stronger than ever. Oscar reminded us to fight again and how brave he is.
& # 39; Not once has he shown weakness, nor has he ceased to amaze us in the most difficult times, and that is a true warrior for us.
& # 39; Oscar is a fun, loving, energetic five-year-old boy who deserves to live fully alongside other troopers who fight against such horrible diseases. & # 39;
Miss Saxelby noticed that her mostly energetic son was listless and lost his appetite in December last year.
She said: & # 39; Normally he would run around, be devastating, be a little monkey. But he just wanted to rest on the couch.
& # 39; When he opened his Christmas presents, he was very happy.
& # 39; But he lay on the couch all afternoon and didn't want to dine. & # 39;
Miss Saxelby & # 39; s mother, Sarah, a NHS clinical commissioner, and sister, Jocelyn, 21, a medical student, feared that Oscar could be anemia and advised her to consult with his doctor immediately.
Oscar has already had chemotherapy to control his illness and the stem cell transplant will allow doctors to give higher doses
Oscar has become a national treasure in his race against the clock. Depicted in the hospital
A Google search of his symptoms made Miss Saxelby – who was an undergraduate at Worcester University for three months at the time – nervous, but he might have reassured her, but the doctor reassured her that it was highly unlikely .
But the results of the blood tests later that day showed that the worse fear of the former learning assistant was a reality.
Oscar has lost his hair and mobility in his legs due to chemotherapy, and his exhausted immune system also meant that he had to be kept in isolation after getting another patient's flu.
A stem cell and bone marrow transplant is an option when a patient does not respond to treatment and involves destroying unhealthy blood cells and replacing them with stem cells removed from the blood or bone marrow.
This allows doctors to use higher doses of chemotherapy.
For more information about Oscar's trip to be Facebook page.
WHAT IS ACUTE LYMPHOBLASTIC LEUKEMIA?
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a form of blood cancer that starts with young white blood cells in the bone marrow.
There are around 810 new cases in the UK every year. In the US ALL has approximately 1.7 adults per 100,000.
Everyone can develop EVERYTHING, but it mainly affects younger people.
Many ALL symptoms are vague and flu-like, such as:
- General weakness
- Frequent infections
- Bruising or bleeding easily, including bloody noses, heavy menstruation and blood in the urine or excrement
- Inexplicable weight loss
- Bone or joint pain
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Feeling full
- Paler skin than normal
Risks for developing ALL include radiation exposure, smoking, obesity, and a weak immune system.
Research suggests that breastfeeding and exposure to infections in children can potentially reduce a person's risk.
The most important ALL treatment is chemotherapy. Patients may also have radiotherapy, steroids or bone marrow transplants.
Source: Cancer Research UK
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