Hereford & Worcester

School to hold stem cell tests for pupil with leukaemia

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Media captionOscar is being treated by doctors in Birmingham

A school attended by a boy with leukaemia is holding stem cell donation swab tests in a bid to find a match.

The parents of five-year-old Oscar Saxelby-Lee, from Worcester, said they were reliant on the "kindness of a stranger" to save their child's life.

He needs a transplant within three-months of his round of chemotherapy or his chances of survival will "severely diminish", his family said.

They are also urging the public to sign up to the NHS blood stem cell register.

Mum Olivia Saxelby, 23, and father Jamie Lee, 26, had initially thought Oscar was anaemic, after he became unwell over Christmas.

However, following a blood test a diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia was given.

He has so far had 20 blood transfusions, four-weeks of chemotherapy and is being treated by doctors at Birmingham Children's Hospital.

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Pitmaston Primary School, in Worcester, is hosting a blood stem cell registration event next month.

Head teacher Kate Wilcock said: "I was shocked that such a bright, outgoing, happy little cheeky chap was struck down with such a severe illness.

"The children have been amazing with their response, openness, generosity and love towards Oscar."

Ms Wilcock said she could not "stress enough the importance that people come down and register".

The tests will run from 09.00-15.00 GMT on 2 and 3 March.

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Oscar with his mum and dad on his fifth birthday spent in hospital last week

Ms Saxelby and Mr Lee are not strong enough stem cell matches for Oscar.

"The donor doesn't have to be a relative and could come from the kindness of a stranger," Ms Saxelby said.

If a match cannot be found then the cells of Mr Lee will be used but his family said that carried certain "risks".

"It's five minutes of your time for a swab, but you could save someone's life," Ms Saxelby added.

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