Baby Ronnie's family "overwhelmed" by response to plea for bone marrow donors (From Redditch Advertiser)
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Baby Ronnie's family "overwhelmed" by response to plea for bone marrow donors
7:30am Wednesday 24th October 2012 in News
AN amazing 153 people resgistered at an Anthony Nolan bone marrow recruitment event after a plea to help save a Redditch baby’s life.
Ronnie Manders, aged 14 months, was diagnosed in July with juvenile myelomonocytic leukaemia (JMML), an incredibly rare form of leukaemia.
Doctors have told Ronnie’s family that a bone marrow transplant is his only hope of survival and his family made an emotional appeal to the public to come forward and try and help Ronnie, and many others like him.
A registration event was held last Thursday, October 18 at Rocklands Social Club where potential donors could come forward, and the Anthony Nolan Trust and Ronnie’s family were thrilled with the response.
Mum Whitney, 25, told the Advertiser: “We were just so overwhelmed that so many people came out because they had heard about Ronnie and wanted to help him, or someone else, who desperately needs a bone marrow transplant.
“Some said they had read it in the paper, or saw a poster, and felt they had to come.”
She spoke of the devastation she and her family felt when told how ill Ronnie was, after seven long months or going back and forth to hospitals.
“By the time he was diagnosed, we knew there was something really wrong, and that our little boy didn’t just have a minor infection that would get better.
“But that didn’t stop the news being devastating. It took so long to diagnose because it is so very rare.
“He is on a break from chemo at the moment, which is being used to shrink his spleen, which gets enlarged by the JMML, but it will not kill the cancer cells.
“He can be such a jolly, happy little baby sometimes, that you forget just how poorly he is.
“His only hope is a bone marrow transplant and I am so grateful to everyone that turned up to the Rocklands.”
Redditch MP Karen Lumley, who attended the recruitment event, said: “Whitney is an extremely inspirational woman, who is fighting incredibly hard to do all she can to support her son. The community response has been nothing short of amazing. The event was a show of support and all people have come together to help Ronnie.
“The Anthony Nolan Trust is a fantastic charity which is working hard to find a suitable match for Ronnie.”
Samples from all those who attended will be sent to the trust’s laboratories and tissue-matched. They will then receive donor cards and be able to donate up until they are 60.
It should be a matter of weeks until it is known whether a match for Ronnie has been found at the Redditch event.
Even though his family know there is only a slim chance that a match for Ronnie will have been found, they know that someone there will match someone who needs a transplant, which is partly why the event was organised.
For details about donating bone marrow, visit anthonynolan.org and for information on Ronnie, or to ask questions, visit facebook.com/groups/103651366460487/ or see rallyforronnie.com.