A Dundee mum’s plea for help to find a bone marrow match for her sick son has led to a big increase in the number of local people signing up to be a donor.
The Tele carried a heartfelt request last week from Haley Winter, from Downfield, who issued the appeal after revealing her son Garvie, seven, had suffered a major setback in his battle against leukaemia.
Haley, 32, told the Tele that chemotherapy treatment so far to treat Garvie’s cancer had not been successful and the family was looking for a bone marrow match for him.
Haley said: “Unfortunately, his condition has not improved.
“We got the devastating news that the chemotherapy Garvie has had so far has not been successful.”
The Tele can now reveal that a leading bone marrow donor charity has received dozens of requests from people in Dundee who want to register for a bone marrow donation.
In only four days, the number of people who contacted German-founded DKMS was six times greater than in the first three weeks of this year.
Now the charity — which aims to help people affected by blood cancer — has revealed its staff are planning to travel from its England base to Dundee on a major recruitment drive.
Bosses at the charity have vowed to do everything they can to help find a match for Garvie, a pupil at Fintry Primary School.
Lisa Nugent, head of recruitment for DKMS, said the charity had learned about Garvie’s battle after reading the Tele’s story.
Lisa added: “After we learned about Garvie we decided we wanted to help him and contacted the Evening Telegraph to see if we could be put in touch with him and his family.”
Lisa explained the charity already had 1,900 bone marrow donors in Dundee.
She added: “During the first three weeks of this year, we had 20 more people registering in the city to offer bone marrow.
“However, after Haley put out her appeal we had 121 new people register in Dundee in a four-day period.
“This is obviously a fantastic result and testament to the appeal, which was put out by Haley for her son.
“We want to do everything we can to find a match for Garvie and are so grateful to the people of Dundee who have registered.
“We now aim to come to Dundee on a major recruitment drive.
“While many people sign up, we have discovered that only around six out of 10 people actually become a bone marrow donor. By coming to Dundee we hope to encourage all those who have signed up to carry it through. We also hope to encourage more people to register.”
Haley said that she was amazed so many people had registered with the charity in the days that followed her appeal.
She continued: “This is incredible and I’m so grateful to everyone. I hope we find a match for Garvie soon, but if our appeal finds donors for others as well that will be even better.”
Meanwhile, Garvie is at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh, where he has started round three of chemotherapy.
The youngster, who first began feeling unwell in October, will spend the next four weeks hooked up to the machinery which will administer the medication into his spine and brain.