A six year old boy with a rare blood disorder has been given a special birthday surprise on board a high speed train, thanks to Southeastern trains.
Six year old Felix Stebbings-Mitchell was diagnosed earlier this summer with a rare blood disorder called XLD type 2, which only affects 1 in 5 million boys. The condition leaves Felix unable to fight off infections and causes severe fatigue.
Felix, who ‘loves trains and chocolate biscuits’, is currently being treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital where he has already had over 20 blood transfusions as well as drugs to boost his immune system.
Doctors have advised that Felix may need a bone marrow transplant. At Anthony Nolan we've recently found a bone marrow donor match for Felix, but doctors are currently waiting for his condition to be better understood before going ahead with the transplant, as it is a major procedure for the patient. .
Felix, who is autistic, turned six on Thursday and, as a surprise, Felix and his friends were treated to a special train-themed day out on the high speed train from St Pancras to Ashford International, organised by Southeastern.
His dad Steven Mitchell said: ‘Felix knows everything about trains; he adores every Thomas the Tank Engine character, he has every Lego train set going and he wants to go to every train-themed event you can think of. Trains and chocolate biscuits are his passions in life!’
The day out was organised by Southeastern after Steven, who works as an analyst, got in touch with the company.
Southeastern arranged for Felix and his friends to have a guided tour of the driver’s cab of a high speed train at St Pancras station. The group then took a high speed train to Ashford International where the group were given the opportunity to have a go on a high speed simulator.
Acting High Speed Driver Manager Michael Harding, who has been a bone marrow donor himself over a decade ago, said: “Felix is a brave little boy and it was lovely to see him enjoy his day out with his dad and his friends on one of our high speed trains and in our simulator. It was a delight to spend the day with him.
Having had the privilege of donating bone marrow myself, I know how the simple act of donating can really make a difference to a person’s life so I urge people to consider joining the Anthony Nolan register. One day you could be the match for someone like Felix.”
Steven added: ‘Today has been an incredible birthday treat for Felix. He’s been full of beans in spite of everything he’s going through and to see him this excited has been such a pleasure.
‘Everyone’s been to great lengths to give Felix his special day – I always say that transport people are the nicest people – possibly because they have to deal with the public all day!
‘I want to say thank you to all the people who give blood and bone marrow to give people like Felix the chance of life. If more people join the Anthony Nolan register and also sign up to give blood, it could give Felix and lots of other children like him many more birthdays to come, so he can carry on enjoying trains. So no excuses, join up today.’