A HORSHAM mother is urging people to sign up to the bone marrow donor list.
Sharon Baylis, 40, of The Crescent, has an eight year old son who desperately needs a matching donor for a blood stem cell transplant that could save his life.
At the age of four and a half months Oliver was diagnosed with severe congenital neutrophenia, a condition which means he has no white blood cells.
“When he was first diagnosed, he was so ill that we were terrified he wasn’t going to make it,” Sharon told the County Times.
Oliver’s condition means he is very susceptible to infections and even something as common as going swimming is out of the question.
“We have to be really careful when we got out,” said his mother. “He handles it quite well as he has always had it but he does say that he wishes he was like his friends.”
The family remain postive, and Oliver’s sunny disposition helps them all stick together.
In June the they were told that an umbilical cord was a match in America, but as they set about preparing for the transplant they were informed that it had been sold on a US website.
“We were devastated,” said Sharon. “It just sent us into limbo land. We knew he needed the operation so to be told he couldn’t have it was awful.”
Great Ormond Street Hospital in London gave them a deadline to find a better match, after which they would have to use the next best alternative. Oliver will be going in on September 25, when it is hoped a German woman will be diagnosed a match.
Sharon said: “She hasn’t had a medical yet so we are just seeing what happens. We are trying not to get our hopes up again but hopefully all will go well. We just need more donors to sign up, there are loads of Olivers out there who need help.”
Men aged between 18 and 30 are particularly sought for the donor list.
“Any mothers reading this with sons please mention it to them,” urged Oliver’s mother. “They could save someone’s life. Some children and adults won’t survive without donors. It’s not as scary as it used to be and at the end of the day you will save someone.”
Lynsey Dickson, regional recruitment manager for the Anthony Nolan trust, said: “There are thousands of people like Oliver in desperate need of a transplant but we can only find matching donors for half of them. We urge people to find out more about donating as it’s much easier than most people think.”
To find out more about donating visit www.anthonynolan.org or call 0303 303 0303.