Ten-year-old cancer boy given new hope after global search finds one-in-a-million bone marrow donorLewis Dyche diagnosed with leukaemia 18-months agoAfter relapse doctors say stem cell transplant is urgently needed

New hope: Nine-year-old cancer patient Lewis Dyche with mother Sharon, sister Amelia and father Mark

New hope: Nine-year-old cancer patient Lewis Dyche with mother Sharon, sister Amelia and father Mark
Tests reveal sister is not a suitable match but experts find donor in Germany

A ten-year-old blighted by blood cancer has been given new hope, after a one-in-a-million bone marrow donor match was found in Germany.

Lewis Dyche was diagnosed with leukaemia 18-months ago, after experiencing breathlessness, tiredness and loss of appetite.

Following chemotherapy doctors gave him the all clear last January but months later the disease returned and he was told that he urgently needed a stem cell transplant.

 

In a desperate attempt to find a donor his family teamed up with a local charity to organise a recruitment drive in Derby.

Lewis’s 16-year-old sister Amelia, was also tested – siblings stand a 25 per cent chance of being a
match – but the results were negative.

Now after a near global search, scouring registers in the UK and abroad, experts located a perfect donor match in Germany and a bone marrow transplant is scheduled for February 16.

His mother Sharon, 46, from
Chaddesden, Derbyshire, said: ‘I feel a lot more positive now that we know
it’s definitely going ahead.

‘I felt excited when they told me, but
I’m apprehensive at the same time.

‘At least we’ll be going in the
right direction. As parents, we want a 100 per cent chance. But, failing that,
we’ll take whatever we can get.’

A picture of Lewis before the blood cancer struck

A picture of Lewis before the blood cancer struck

Lewis was diagnosed with leukaemia in June 2010 and treated at
Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre, which has a specialist children’s
cancer ward for youngsters from across the region.

In the first few months after
diagnosis he had chemotherapy and was well enough to go back to school between treatments.

Then, in January 2011, he was found
to be clear of cancer but medics warned there was a high chance of the
illness returning.

He suffered a relapse in August and has since been given
more chemotherapy using stronger drugs.

He was even in hospital over Christmas but was well enough to return home on New Year’s Eve to celebrate his tenth birthday.

The donor has been identified by experts
at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, who will carry out the transplant next month.

The procedure, which takes around one hour to complete and several days of preparation, has around a 60 per cent success rate.

His mother added: ‘We’re not looking forward to seeing him
so ill. We’ve got our hopes up about the transplant but, at the same
time, we’re nervous because it will be so tough.

‘It’s not just a case of having a transplant and there you go, you’re cured.

‘The reality is that there’s a long road ahead, so we’re not celebrating.’

During the transplant the donor’s blood will be removed through a vein in one arm, passed through a machine to separate the stem cells from other cells, and returned to the body through another vein.

The aim is be to harvest healthy stem cells, which are found in the bone marrow, and create three important types of blood cells.

The new stem cells will be given to Lewis and take over the production of his blood cells.

Sharon added: ‘Once Lewis goes to Sheffield, the first thing will be to give him five to seven days of chemotherapy, plus other drugs.

‘Then he’ll have the transplant, which will take a couple of hours, and then he could be in hospital for up to six weeks while he recovers.’

After Lewis goes home, he will need regular tests and will have to be home-educated for several months to avoid any risk of infection as his immune system will be lowered.

In England and Wales, an estimated 2,700 new cases of leukaemia are diagnosed each year.

It was reported last year that in UK alone there were 1,600 people waiting for a bone marrow transfusion – out of a total 37,000 worldwide – and only half would find a suitable match.