Ely family of one-year-old with leukemia call for lifesaving stem cell donors
PUBLISHED: 12:45 29 May 2019 | UPDATED: 14:32 29 May 2019
The family of a one-year-old from Ely who has leukemia is calling for people to sign up as potential stem cell donors as they desperately search for a match to save his life.
Alfie Webb was diagnosed with a type of blood cancer that usually affects people over the age of 60 at just 10 months old in October last year.
He has recently finished chemotherapy treatment, but his family have been told that a stem cell transplant may be needed to cure his cancer and stop it returning.
The diagnosis couldn't have come at a worse time for the family, as Alfie's dad Ollie had just finished treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma, also a type of blood cancer, on the day Alfie first became unwell.
Alfie's mum, Saffron, 24, said: "To be told that Alfie had leukaemia was a massive shock and completely devastating for us.
"Ollie had just finished treatment for cancer and hadn't yet had the all clear, so at that point I didn't know if either of them would be okay."
"Alfie started chemotherapy a few days after his diagnosis and remained in hospital for six months, where he had four cycles of chemotherapy and frequent platelet and blood transfusions.
"He caught various infections and viruses in hospital, which sometimes resulted in us having to stay in a barrier room.
"He would be crying at the door because he wanted to go outside."
Now that he has finished his chemotherapy treatment he has been allowed back home, however his family have been told that a stem cell transplant may be needed to cure his cancer.
They are now working with the Anthony Nolan charity, which have searched the stem cell register for a special stranger who could save Alfie's life.
Karen, Alfie's grandmother, has managed to get 140 people to join the register.
She said: 'Doctors thought there would be hundreds of people on the register who would be the best possible match for Alfie, so they were extremely shocked to find there wasn't anyone.
"We have met other people on the ward who can't find a match and we know how important it is. We want to help all those other people, not just Alfie, we're always thinking about the other children that are left behind."
Sarah Rogers, Anthony Nolan regional register development manager, said: "We are doing everything we can to support Alfie's family and it's extremely heartwarming that they are thinking of other families and their search for a donor, during this difficult time."
To find about more about joining the Anthony Nolan register, and to find out if you could be the right match for Alfie, then visit: www.anthonynolan.org/hope4alfie