Twitter | @bbchw, @LauraSenter

Over 3,000 People Line Up In The Rain To Give Boy With Leukemia A Chance At Life

mason.zimmer 29 Apr 2019

It's natural for new parents to feel anxious about how things will turn out for their child. Most want the very best for their little ones, so they idea of them having trouble in school or experiencing bullying can be pretty worrying.

However, one of the worst–and fairly well-founded–fears is that they may have to deal with a life-threatening illness before they even get a chance to explore the many wonders that life has in store for them.

This is the situation that a boy in the U.K. now faces, but the outlook is good that it may soon be behind him.

Back in December, five-year-old Oscar Saxelby-Lee of Worcester, England received devastating news.

Just Giving

As The New York Times reported, he was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which meant that his bone marrow would stop releasing immature white blood cells.

As his mother, Olivia Saxelby, wrote on Oscar's crowdfunding page, this left him with platelets as low as 14.

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And so, Oscar underwent four weeks of intense chemotherapy.

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As Olivia told a local BBC affiliate, he would also end up receiving about 11 blood and platelet transfusions.

However, doctors said that despite these treatments, Oscar would also need a stem cell transplant to have much hope of surviving.

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As Olivia put it, this news broke her and Oscar's father completely.

Twitter | @bbchw

As she wrote on the crowdfunding page, "We shed tear after tear, we fell into each others arms damaged and inconsolable. We felt like we could not see light at the end of the tunnel, but when looking at Oscar's cheeky smile, bravery and determination we managed to pull our strength together again.

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And Oscar's family would soon discover that they didn't have to face his condition alone.

Twitter | @LauraSenter

As The New York Times reported, not only did his school, Pitmaston Primary School, set up the crowdfunding page, but they also organized a donor event through DKMS, a nonprofit that specializes in finding donors for blood cancer patients.

Over the first weekend of March, anyone from age 17-55 was eligible to come to the school and see if they matched.

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And the community's response was nothing short of inspiring.

Twitter | @clairedj24

Not only did the school's crowdfunding efforts raise the equivalent of $17,170, which was 265% of their $6,459 goal, but over 200 volunteers from throughout Britain showed up to take registrations and manage the parking lot for the event.

As for donor volunteers, enough arrived to break British records.

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All told, 4,855 people showed up over the weekend, with an additional 1,000 registering online.

Twitter | @LauraSenter

Sunday had a particularly impressive turnout, with over 3,000 lining up outside.

As the school's business manager, Sue Bladen, told The New York Times, "People queued around the block, in the pouring rain, and nobody moaned about it. The spirit we had here was absolutely incredible, the generosity of people."

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Out of all of those 5,800+ people, three of them turned out to be the matches Oscar needed.

Twitter | @bbchw

According to the BBC, after some final checks to confirm the selected donor, Oscar will undergo four days of radiotherapy before his body can accept the transplant.

That radiotherapy is expected to begin today.

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Once the transplant goes through, however, Oscar will need to go into protective isolation.

Twitter | @bbchw

This is because his immune system will be compromised and he'll be less able to fend off any potential infections.

As Olivia told the BBC, "It will be scary, it will be tough, but we are prepared because we know he has got the strength to pull through and we are just over the moon."

h/t: The New York Times

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