Seven-year-old Seth struggles with a rare blood disorder called acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), a cancer that affects the white blood cells.
ALL is the most common type of cancer in children, and occurs when a bone marrow cell develops mutations in its genetic material or DNA.
These mutations tell the bone marrow cell to continue growing and dividing which causes blood cell production to go out of control and produce immature cells that develop into leukemic white blood cells called lymphoblasts. These abnormal cells cannot function properly and eventually build up and crowd out the healthy cells.
Seth was diagnosed in May 2018 after experiencing multiple headaches, weight loss, change in skin colour and back pains.
“We were all devastated, it feels so unreal. We never thought this would happen to us or that our little boy would fall ill,” his mother Peyton told The Sunflower Fund. “Sometimes I feel like giving up but I can’t, I have to be strong for my boy, to have faith and carry on.
“Seth was a very active boy, he enjoyed playing sport and was excited to finally be attending ‘BIG’ school but now he barely talks and does not enjoy anything he used to do.”
As part of his treatment, Seth receives monthly lumbar punctures without sedation and is a high-risk leukemia patient.
“Every year, thousands of patients around the world are diagnosed with leukemia and other blood-related diseases. In the past, this diagnosis was often fatal. Today, a blood stem cell transplant can be a potentially life-saving treatment for more than 70 different diseases,” explains the Sunflower Fund.
“A blood stem cell transplant replaces a person’s defective stem cells with healthy ones. More than 50 000 patients worldwide receive transplants every year, and this number continues to rise.”
Unfortunately, finding a suitable donor with a similar tissue type is very difficult, meaning many patients who could benefit from this life-saving procedure do not get the treatment they desperately need.
“In around one-third of cases, a donor can be found within a patient’s family. But the rest of the time, an unrelated donor is required for successful transplantation,” added the Fund.
The Sunflower Fund is appealing to residents to help Seth and others like him beat blood cancer by requesting a swab kit and registering as a potential blood stem cell donor.
To become a potential blood stem cell donor:
– Check your eligibility and request a swab kit on the Sunflower Fund website
– Complete the swabs they courier to you at home or your office and send them back.
Once they receive your swabs, they will analyse your tissue type and add your details on The Sunflower Fund partnered by DKMS’s stem cell registry in an anonymised form. Your details will then be part of blood stem cell donor searches for people all over the world who need a genetic match to get a second chance at life.
If you are between the ages of 18-55 and in general good health, please request a swab kit to register as a potential stem cell donor today on the Sunflower Fund’s website: www.sunflowerfund.org/be-a-donor/
Picture/s: Facebook / The Sunflower Fund