Northern Ireland news

Newry mother's appeal for bone marrow donor after son (14) diagnosed with leukaemia

Daniel was diagnosed last month with leukaemia and the race is on to find a matching bone marrow donor

A NEWRY woman has appealed for bone marrow donors to come forward in a bid to save her teenage son's life after he was diagnosed with leukaemia.

Daniel Greer (14) a pupil at Abbey Christian Brothers’ Grammar School, is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment after being diagnosed last month with an aggressive blood cancer that spreads rapidly.

His family was told last week that he needs a bone marrow transplant, with the chances of finding a match at one in 10 million.

His mother Anne last night urged people to register as a bone marrow donor in a bid to potentially help save her son's life.

"It's urgent. Time is not on our side," she told the Newry Reporter.

"It could save Daniel's life. This is literally what is at stake for us."

Ms Greer said her son had initially complained of pains in his back last month and following bloods taken and X-ray, they received a phone call to attend the Royal Victoria Hospital haematology as his blood count and white cells were down.

She said just a week before he was diagnosed, he was playing in the Peace Proms in the Waterfront Hall with the Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland.

"The rug is just pulled from underneath you," she said.

"We went to Belfast and Daniel repeated the bloods. The consultant came round to see us and said to Daniel that it looks like there is something wrong in his blood.

"Daniel is bright as a button and asked what was wrong. She said it looks like there's some bad cells in your blood. And he asked if it was cancer and she said she was worried that it was."

Shortly after it was confirmed he had Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML), he began 10 consecutive days of chemotherapy treatment consisting of 25 doses of intense chemo and has had chemo injected into his spinal chord.

The family has been told Daniel needs a bone marrow transplant, which Ms Greer said "if he gets a good match, that would be him cured".

"He has a second big dose of chemo starting the first week of July and if they find a match by the time he has gone through all of that, around mid-August, then he would be transferred to Bristol to have the bone marrow transplant and he'll remain there for two to three months."

But she said "time isn't on Daniel's side" and she is appealing for people to register to become a potential donor if a match fits.

"From when someone registers to receiving the swab and returning it. it takes six to eight weeks for the details to then be made available to DKMS, the national registry.

"So it's not a case of I must do that swab. It's urgent."

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