Almost 5,000 people came together to try and save a life recently as they queued in the rain for hours to see if they were an organ match for a young, dying boy.
Oscar Saxelby-Lee was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of leukaemia on December 28, after bruising on his body turned out to be cancer.
Doctors have now said the youngster has just three months to try and find a stem-cell donor to save his life.
Speaking to The Sun, family friend Lin Forward said Oscar’s mum Olivia Saxelby has been ‘amazing’ while enduring ‘every parent’s worst nightmare’.
Describing the child’s circumstances, she said:
Little Oscar is in a poorly way at the moment. Normally he had been able to get to the hospital shop on a walking frame, but now he’s in isolation and can’t even eat.
Libby [Olivia] has been absolutely amazing. She’s been at the hospital all the time, and is really trying to keep positive.
It’s just every parents worse [sic] nightmare.
Following their son’s diagnosis, Oscar’s parents Olivia and Jamie Lee put out a desperate plea for donors to come forward. They launched an campaign called ‘Hand in Hand for Oscar’, hoping to get as many people as possible to sign up to a blood stem cell donor register.
Incredibly, over the weekend over 4,800 people volunteered to see if they were a match.
The potential donors queued up at Pitmaston Primary School, in Worcester, who opened their doors to the selfless volunteers. The members of the public sat at tables and chairs in the school’s halls, handing out swabs and completing donor registration forms.
DKMS, the charity that tests the swabs, said its previous record for the highest number of people to take part in a registration event was 2,200 people. After this weekend, the new record is 4,855.
Wow!!! Just WOW!!This weekends registration event at Pitmaston Primary School has only gone and SMASHED the DKMS record with 4855 registered!!!! 💪🙏👏 An unbelievable response from the public, friends and family!! Oscar's Mum and Dad are overwhelmed with all your support, generosity and love shown these past two days 🥰We are all so proud and want to thank each and every one of you who have been involved! Not only are we proud of you but the main man himself…Oscar!!! <3 He has been following your videos and his little face lit up knowing everyone is trying their best to help him get better! Here he is – From him to you, a massive THANK YOU!! Pitmaston PTA South Worcestershire IOM Worcester News BBC Hereford & Worcester DKMS UK BBC News
Posted by Hand In Hand for Oscar on Sunday, 3 March 2019
Teaching assistant Laura Senter explained how Oscar’s diagnosis came as a huge shock to the class, saying:
I couldn’t believe it. I saw him before Christmas and he was his usual happy-go-lucky self.
It’s a nightmare for this to happen. You can’t really do anything about it, it’s heart-breaking.
If a child falls over and cuts their knee you can put a plaster on it. With something like this you can’t just fix it.
That’s why we have gone into ‘action mode’ to try and find a donor.
It’s yet not clear whether a donor for Oscar has been found, but hopefully at least one of the thousands of volunteers will be able to provide the stem cells he so desperately needs.
Mum Olivia said:
We felt like we could not see light at the end of the tunnel, but when looking at Oscar’s cheeky smile, bravery and determination, we managed to pull our strength together again.
Our thoughts are with Oscar and his family at this tough time.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues, and want to speak to someone in confidence contact Macmillan’s Cancer Support Line on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday – Friday, 9am – 8pm).
Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.