A young family from Northern Ireland is urging people to sign up to the stem cell register as their son and brother, 14-year-old Daniel Greer, was diagnosed with leukaemia just two months ago.
Daniel’s only chance of survival is a stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor – only one in four people will find a match within their family and Daniel’s older, James, was sadly found not to be a match. Blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan is working with the family to raise awareness of stem cell donation as they wait for news of a matching donor.
The Greer family are appealing to young men between the ages of 16 to 30 to sign up to the stem cell register, as young men make up more than half of all stem cell transplants for blood cancer and blood disorder patients. Despite this, they make up for just 18 per cent of the register.
After complaining of back and neck pain, doctors confirmed Daniel had acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) following a series of blood tests. Since his diagnosis, Daniel has been in hospital for over two months receiving aggressive chemotherapy treatment at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children to place him into remission, which is necessary for him to receive a transplant.
Anne Greer, Daniel’s mother, said: “Daniel is an amazing, bright young man who lights up any room he walks into. His wicked sense of humour keeps our spirits up, even now while he’s in hospital receiving chemotherapy. I know he’s really proud that his story is inspiring people to sign up to the stem cell register. Those people will potentially help him, as well as many other people around the world who desperately need a stem cell transplant like Daniel.”
Henny Braund, CEO at Anthony Nolan, said: “Finding his matching donor would mean everything to Daniel and his family. We are committed to supporting Daniel as he waits for news of the donor who could save his life.
“Last year over 1,300 people around the world with blood cancer or a blood disorder, were given a second chance of life because of the wonderful people that are signed up to the Anthony Nolan register. But too many people, like Daniel, are told there is no matching donor for them. Signing up to the register is quick and simple, and we urge anyone who is in good general health, especially young men aged 16-30, to come forward and potentially save the life of someone like Daniel.”
Daniel has a zest for life, and loves anything to do with the outdoors, sports and music. A talented musician, Daniel is one of youngest ever members of the Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland where he plays trumpet, and is also a keen diver, achieving his PADI scuba-diving membership as soon as he was old enough. The family love to go out mountain biking and Daniel has also played for his local rugby team.
The family’s local community has shown immense support for Daniel, with pharmacies in Newry encouraging people to sign up to the stem cell register, the Belfast Giants featuring Daniel’s story on their podcast and awareness-raising of stem cell donation at Belfast International Airport last month.
Find out more about Anthony Nolan at www.anthonynolan.org/DoItForDaniel