On the 12th August 2011, our second beautiful son was born, weighing 7lb 11oz.
We named him Ronnie Harvey Manders, and we were all smitten – especially his older brother James Thomas.
We went into action trying to find a match for Ronnie, and quickly realised how many other people were searching for lifesaving matches. And so we started holding donor rallies to educate and get as many people signed up to the Anthony Nolan register as possible.
Ronnie was deteriorating rapidly and no match was to be found for him, so his dad donated his cells, which were only a 50% match. Ronnie fought hard and strong, but after relapsing early after the first transplant and needing another so soon afterwards, his body became too weak. At 22 months old, after fighting all his short life, Ronnie passed away at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Our lives would never be the same again, and we realised we needed to do everything in our power to stop this happening to other families.
And so we started fundraising, as well as asking people to sign up to the register. We have raised money in many ways: we sold charity bands, organised balloon races, a Christmas card competition, held many charity football games and tournaments, raffles, children’s parties, made and sold Christmas tree stars, held two charity balls and much more. We are very lucky to be so well supported. People have raised funds on behalf of Rally for Ronnie, doing their own things and donating the money to us including the London Marathon and Ride London, a 100 mile cycle.
There will always be a future. We will never stop Rallying for our beautiful blue-eyed boy. It is a fantastic feeling, knowing Ronnie could have helped save somebody’s life! We hope that many more lives can be saved by our Ronnie. Mainly we don’t want Ronnie to be forgotten and we don’t want him to have suffered for nothing. Ronnie never got his full match, and if he had, things could be different. However, we can all help other people get their match, and keep the legacy of our beautiful blue eyed boy Ronnie alive.