A dedicated family are pulling together in the hope of finding this gorgeous little boy a bone marrow donor.
Foulridge resident Pauline Barnes and her three children Ryan, Kirsten and Paige, are raising awareness of the Anthony Nolan register after Pauline’s grandson Rhys Neville was diagnosed with Hyper IgM syndrome in November.
The Whitefield youngster, who turns one on Tuesday, currently has no matches in the UK or in 52 other countries - but his relatives remain positive that there is somebody out there who can help.
Hyper IgM syndrome is a genetic condition that affects the immune system. Rhys’ parents Leanne Barnes and Paul Neville were given the diagnosis at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital after their son went through numerous tests and more than two weeks in isolation.
Pauline, of Barnoldswick Road, said: “It is a waiting game for us all at the moment.
“It could be Joe Bloggs around the corner that could be a match for our Rhys. We would just be ecstatic if we could find a match.”
As part of their drive to raise funds for Anthony Nolan, Pauline and her children are hosting a fun day at Cross Gaits Inn, in Blacko, on Saturday, April 26th.
The event, which will include a bouncy castle, live band, a raffle and a variety of other activities, will run from 3pm until late. There will also be a barbecue, if weather permits, and Rhys will hopefully be there on the day.
If successful, Pauline hopes to organise a ball at the end of the year.
On the family’s Just Giving page it states: “Rhys at the age of eight months was rushed into hospital with pneumonia to find out he needed a bone donor for the rare condition he has.
“With no matches in the UK or 52 other countries searched, we are in desperate need of the public to sign up to be a bone marrow donor, it is as simple a spit swab to save lives.
“Raising money and more awareness can make all this possible.”
And Rhys’ auntie Paige (18) added: “All the public participation means so much to us as a family, every donor means we are one step closer to curing our baby Rhys.”
According to Ann O’Leary, head of register development at Anthony Nolan, 1,800 people in the UK are in need of a life-saving bone marrow transplant every year.
She said: “We’re calling on people 16 -30 to join the bone marrow register and potentially save a life. Many people don’t realise how simple it is to help; joining the register is easy and involves filling in a form and giving a saliva sample.”
For more information on how to become a donor and to see other ways you can help visit www.anthonynolan.org
And to make a donation to Rhys’ family’s Just Giving page go to www.justgiving.com/antonynolan-rhysneville