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We're backing an urgent appeal for more mixed raced donors as a London Firefighter’s son battles leukaemia.
Tommy Simpson is a 4 year old boy of White (British) and Black (Caribbean) heritage who loves nothing more than playing with his toy aeroplanes and putting on his Dad's uniform, pretending to be a firefighter.
In January 2016 he was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML), after being admitted to hospital a few days before Christmas. He has been in hospital ever since.
Tommy's parents, London firefighter Nigel and Mary Kay Cosmetics Events Manager Maxine, have launched an urgent appeal to find Tommy a potential lifesaving stem cell donor in the event his imminent test results reveal he will require an unrelated stem cell (bone marrow) donor to save his life.
If you're White Northern European, Black African or Caribbean and mixed race, please become a donor on the stem cell register.
You may potentially be able to save the life of a funny and beautiful little boy.
Tommy's mixed heritage makes it extremely hard to find a donor as matching stem cell tissue types are inherited.
Mixed race people like Tommy have less than a 20 per cent chance of finding an unrelated best possible match; as do individuals who are black or from a minority ethnic background.
There are only 3 per cent of donors on the UK stem cell register who are mixed race, making Tommy's chances of finding an unrelated donor extremely difficult.
Tommy, who is an only child, is currently being treated at London’s Great Ormond Street hospital. Extended family members were immediately tested, however a suitable match within the family was not found.
Nigel and Maxine, Tommy's parents, said: "Tommy doesn’t have any siblings so the one in four chance of a sibling being a match doesn't exist for Tommy.
"It is at best a 50 per cent chance for parents to be a match for their children; this is normally a route doctors go down when they can’t find anything better.
"We know the window of opportunity for an unrelated match being found is going fast with each day passing; that’s why we are appealing for people to join the stem cell register now."
Nigel's colleagues are showing their support for the #Match4Tommy campaign and the Brigade is using it's social media channels to help the appeal.
London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson said: "Firefighter's are at the heart of our communities and help others day in day out to keep London safe.
"Now we need help from the public to respond to this urgent appeal for donors for a London firefighter’s son Tommy.
"If you are yet to join the stem cell registers, please attend the donor drives and encourage your family and friend to attend too; Tommy desperately needs your help."
ACLT will be registering anyone in good health aged between 17-55. New registrants will complete a short application form and provide a cheek swab.
For more information on the #Match4Tommy donor drives, call ACLT on 020 3757 7700 or visit their website.