For some paediatric cancer patients, life-saving treatment is literally in the hands of strangers, and in April 2018 when we received the news that Lochie’s treatment had not been as successful as hoped, this quickly became our reality. A small amount of cancer cells were still detected in his bone marrow which meant that he was likely going to need a transplant to replace defective bone marrow stem cells with healthy cells. We were told that the best donor match for bone marrow transplants are siblings with a 1 in 4 chance, but were crushed to find out that our other son Aidan (5 years old at the time) was not a match.
Our next (and last) option was to get an unrelated donor, which is done by searching the bone marrow registry. After three searches looking for a match for Lochie, they told us that there simply wasn’t a suitable donor on the system, meaning that Lochie’s last chance for treatment was now non-existent. In those moments after the third search with no luck, terrified did not even come close to how we were feeling.
In the end, luck was on our side. On the 6th of May 2018 doctors told us that Lochie was finally in remission! This meant that we could continue with the treatment as planned and a bone marrow transplant was no longer required, eliminating the overwhelming waiting game and stress that comes with searching for a match on the donor registry.
Our Lochie was one of the lucky ones, but for many children a bone marrow transplant is their last chance at a successful treatment, which is only possible with the help of extremely generous strangers who are signed up to the bone marrow donor registry. Today on National Donor Day, we urge you to consider becoming a bone marrow donor. You may never be called upon, but every person on that list provides that extra ounce of hope for kids and parents staring down the barrel of their worst nightmare.