Eight-year-old from County Armagh needs a hero

June 13, 2023
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The family of a young boy with blood cancer is urging people to join the Anthony Nolan stem cell register and help save the lives of blood cancer and blood disorder patients.

Bobby was an active, fun-loving little boy who loved to swim and play football with his friends until he received a devastating blood cancer diagnosis. Bobby, from Co Armagh, Northern Ireland, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) in May 2022. ALL is a type of blood cancer, that causes immature white blood cells to clog the bone marrow, stopping it from creating healthy blood cells.

After chemotherapy failed to cure the cancer, in November 2022 Bobby’s family took him to Newcastle to undergo innovative CAR-T therapy, where scientists took Bobby’s immune cells, or T-cells, and adapted them to be more able to bind to and remove cancer cells.

Heartbreakingly, though, in February 2023 doctors found that the treatment had not worked, and that if his cancer returns it will be extremely hard to treat. Now, his doctors say that a stem cell transplant is his only chance of a cure.

Bobby’s family has teamed up with blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan for the campaign ‘Bobby Needs a Hero’ to encourage people from all backgrounds to sign up to the stem cell donor register.

Melissa, Bobby’s older sister, said: “Finding out Bobby has blood cancer has thrown our world out of balance. We were so happy that the CAR-T treatment had worked initially, but hearing that it had left Bobby’s body too early was devastating.

“No one deserves this, especially not an eight-year-old. If you’re able to sign up, please consider becoming a stem cell donor to give people like Bobby a second chance. If you have the opportunity to potentially save a life, take it.”

Henny Braund MBE, Chief Executive of Anthony Nolan, said: “Finding Bobby a donor would be life-changing for him and his family. We are committed to supporting them as they wait for news of a donor who could save his life. If you’re aged 16-30, in good health, you could give hope to someone like Bobby by joining the Anthony Nolan register today.”

Anyone looking to join the stem cell register must simply complete a short form online. They’ll receive a cheek swab in the post which should be returned to Anthony Nolan. Once swabs are Anthony Nolan’s lab, donors will get an email and donor card in the post.

To find about more about joining the Anthony Nolan register, or to find out more about the different ways you can support, please visit