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Family of Tees toddler launch urgent fundraising campaign to find his stem cell donor

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One-year-old Mason urgently needs to find a lifesaving stem cell donor

The family of a one-year-old from Stockton-upon-Tees, diagnosed with blood cancer, are appealing for people to support blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan in raising urgent funds to add more donors to the stem cells register and give their little boy the best possible chance of survival.

On Christmas Eve, Baby Mason was diagnosed with Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukaemia (JMML), a rare type of slowly developing blood cancer that occurs in young children. Although it was discovered at an early stage, Mason’s doctors have said his best chance of survival is with a stem cell or bone marrow transplant.

As Mason does not have a close enough match in his family, he needs to find a matching, unrelated donor through the stem cell register.

Currently there is no match for Mason, so Mason’s family have launched a ‘Mason’s Mission’, a fundraising appeal to help Anthony Nolan process a large backlog of donor applications, increasing the chances of Mason finding his match.

Katie Jordan, Mason’s mum said: ‘The hospital has been absolutely amazing, but unfortunately after searching worldwide there is no match for Mason due to his bone marrow being so rare.

‘We need to get him to transplant as soon as, the hospital is looking at the end of February, using me as his first donor in the hope that this will help him until we find a better match.

‘I would give my life for Mason but unfortunately, I can only donate my bone marrow three times in a lifetime and I’m not a full match for him.

‘Children with JMML live around twelve months after diagnosis, we need to find mason a better match. Twelve months is not long enough for us to have with our boy, we are living the worst possible nightmare.’

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Anthony Nolan’s fundraising activity and a large number of people joining the charity’s register in early December means there is a backlog of currently around 25,000 potential donors. The charity has been overwhelmed with support and need to raise up to an extra £500,000 to add people to the register, from ordering more swab packs to analysing completed swabs in its laboratory.

Any one of the 25,000 people who have applied to join the Anthony Nolan could be a match for Mason or one of the 2,300 patients in the UK, who need a stem cell transplant from a donor each year.

Katie says: ‘We have set our ‘Mason’s Mission’ target as £10,000.00 which does seem a lot but this would help to cover 250 registrations and kits and allow us to continue our search for my baby Mason.’

Henny Braund, Chief Executive of Anthony Nolan says: ‘Finding a match would mean everything to Mason, and his family and we’re doing all we can to find a stem cell donor to give Mason a second chance of life.

‘A perfect storm of the coronavirus pandemic, and a surge of 40,000 incredible people who have been inspired to join the Anthony Nolan register in the last month – by patients, like Mason – means that we’re in urgent need. The best thing people can do is support Anthony Nolan’s work financially. By giving anything, together we can add all potential lifesavers to the register, and give patients like Mason hope.’

Anthony Nolan recruits people aged 16–30 to the stem cell register as research has shown younger people are more likely to be chosen to donate.

They also carry out ground-breaking research to save more lives and provide information and support to patients after a stem cell transplant, through its clinical nurse specialists and psychologists, who help guide patients through their recovery.

It costs £40 to recruit each potential donor to the register, so Anthony Nolan relies on financial support.

Please visit www.justgiving.com/masons-mission to support Mason’s Mission

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