A devastated mum has issued a heartbreaking plea for bone marrow as her baby son battles against a rare form of leukaemia.
At just six weeks, little Francis Oldham began developing unusual marks on his body, accompanied by increased sleepiness.
His mum, Anna Holland, initially thought the sleepiness was because of his age, the Liverpool Echo reports.
But she became alarmed by the unusual sleeping patterns and took Francis to their GP, leading to a hospital admission due to a high temperature.
Initially suspected to be sepsis, further testing revealed a much graver reality: Francis was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia, a rare and aggressive form of childhood cancer.
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The horrific diagnosis came on August 9, when Francis was just 15 weeks old.
Francis’s best hope for survival hinges on finding a bone marrow donor who is a perfect 10 out of 10 match with him.
Anna, who lives in Walton, Surrey, has urged people to take a test to see if they are a match for her child or others that urgently need a donor.
She said: “He was back and fourth the doctors and hospitals because no-one had any idea what was going on. They didn’t think it was cancer because nothing was showing in his blood then.
“He had no other symptoms, he just came out in marks all over his body, on his head and belly and they would appear and just disappear. It went on for a while, we don’t know if the bruises were related but we assume they are. We’d been on holiday and he slept a bit but we thought it was the heat. He was a newborn so we didn’t expect anything different and then he was fine.
“But a week before his diagnosis he was very sleepy and I knew it wasn’t right. We went the doctors and they said he had a high temperature and needed to go to hospital, they suspected sepsis but when he went for the lumbar puncture they saw the marks and tested his blood.”
She added: “Please, get tested, you could be a match, if not for us then for someone else. It saves lives. You don’t think about it until you’re there but a small procedure can save a life.”
Francis is now enduring an arduous 10-day regimen of chemotherapy. After it, he will undergo a second round then it is hoped he will be able to have the much-awaited and crucial bone marrow transplant that could offer a lifeline.
Anna continued: “When we got the diagnosis we were devastated. But we were glad to have answers because we didn’t know what was up with him. It was the worst news in that moment but you battle through because he’s a baby, he needs positivity around him so you have to mask your feelings.
“But mums have that instinct and so if you think something is up, don’t stop, continue to push for answers. You’re not silly for doing it, don’t stop until you know.”
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