Race Against Blood Cancer appeals for #Match4Tommy, a campaign supporting 4 year old boy diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia
Tommy Simpson is an adorable 4-year old boy who loves nothing more than playing with his little toy airplanes and wearing his dad’s firefighter uniform, pretending to be just like him. But a few days before Christmas, all of these dreams came to a halt when he was admitted to hospital and diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) earlier this year.
With the hope of finding a suitable stem cell donor, all Tommy’s family were tested but results this week came back negative, leaving Tommy’s fate in the hands of an unrelated donor.
From a mixed White British and Black Caribbean heritage, Tommy’s chances of finding a suitable donor, like many other mixed heritage patients, are sadly very low (less than 20%). In the UK, only 3% of donors on the registry are from mixed race and sadly many lose the battle due to this lack of awareness.
In response to this sad news, his parents – London firefighter, Nigel Simpson, 48, and Education Associate at Mary Kay Cosmetics Ltd, Maxine Francis, 45 – launched an urgent appeal in partnership with the ACLT, calling for members of the public to help them save the life of their little boy and allow him to one day become the firefighter he dreams to be.
In a press release, Tommy’s parents said: “Tommy doesn’t have any siblings so the 1 in 4 chance of a sibling being a match doesn’t exist for Tommy. We know the window of opportunity for an unrelated match being found is going fast with each day passing; that’s why we are appealing for people to join the stem cell register now. Particularly if you are White Northern European, Black African or Caribbean and mixed race (white/black), you may potentially be able to save the life of our funny and beautiful little boy”.
ACLT co-founder and blood cancer campaigner Beverley De-Gale OBE knows what Tommy’s parents are going through, having experienced this over 20 years ago when her son was diagnosed with blood cancer. “Twenty years ago ACLT was launched prior to us embarking on a 3-year national campaign to find my 8-year old son Daniel an unrelated match. The campaign was a success; Daniel went onto to become the UK’s first black individual to receive an unrelated stem cell donor.”
Beverley went on to add “In the same way we were committed all those years ago to find a lifesaving donor for our son, we are committed to raise awareness on stem cell donation in order to find a lifesaving donor for young Tommy. It is crucial members of the general public come together to help this vibrant little boy”
In response to this appeal, 3 drives have already been scheduled to help the #Match4Tommy appeal while Tommy patiently awaits in hospital:
- Saturday 20thFebruary at the Lucozade Power League, Croydon Hannibal Way, Croydon, CR0 4RW, 10.30am-4pm
- Saturday 19thMarch at Capital FM HQ, Global, 30 Leicester Square, London WC2H 7LA on, between 11am-6pm
- Saturday 9th April at Stratford Fire Station -117 Romford Road, E15 4LY
The team at Race Against Blood Cancer were truly touched by this sad news and are in full support of the ACLT and Tommy’s parents in the efforts to find Tommy, and all other blood cancer patients, a potential lifesaving donor match. With plans in place for many more donor drives over the coming weeks and months, we hope to raise more awareness of the campaign and help save the lives of those in need.
If you haven’t already we urge you to join the donor register today by visiting our sign up page. Or, if you would like to help by organizing your own donor drive, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks for your support and let’s find a #Match4Tommy