Aplastic Anaemia #ourHenry Anthony Nolan Trust
Thanks for looking in again on Henry as he continues his recovery from chemotherapy following his debilitating battle against Aplastic Anaemia – a life-threatening bone marrow disorder.
Henry was diagnosed with Aplastic Anaemia in late October after feeling unwell on a school trip to Paris. He was lucky that tests back in the UK revealed what was wrong with him as Aplastic Anaemia is a serious bone marrow and blood disorder affecting just one-in-a-million people. After several months of intensive transfusions and multiple illnesses and ailments – due to his inability to produce adequate blood cells and platelets – Henry started chemotherapy in March after a donor match was found in Germany. Lucky doesn’t even come close; the majority of people with leukaemia and other related conditions do not have such fortune.
Whilst your average 17 year-old is thinking about A-Levels, university, friends, relationships, gap years, Saturday jobs, sport and leisure, parties, and all the usual … Henry’s final year of school has been quite different.
Henry has spent around half of the last six months cooped up on the paediatric cancer ward at Royal Surrey County Hospital, where he is on a first-name basis with staff. He has been hooked up to all manner of machines and drips being battered, bruised, but not beaten. The rest of the time he has spent at home, missing months of crucial schooling and teenage life. Despite his ordeal, you will rarely see him without a smile on his face or without a joke to tell.
The only hope for any return to his prior quality of life was a stem cell (aka bone marrow) transplant; however, even this was/is no guarantee of recovery. Henry’s siblings – the most likely hope of a medical match – WERE NOT a match. After a painstaking wait, however, and a trawl of the world’s bone marrow databases, a bone marrow match was found in Germany on the DKMS database. ‘Klaus’ – a 22-year-old German – travelled to the UK in late February in time for Henry’s first round of treatment on March 1st, though that was after an additional delay of two weeks.
Early resuults show that Henry’s blood cell count and platelet levels are returning to their pre-Paris levels. Fingers continue to be crossed.
Henry in January and February
As well as having to contend with this life-altering news, Henry has also had to fight off meningitis, mouth ulcers, severe fatigue, multiple bouts of hives, tonsillitis and several other infections – all a result of his lowered immune system. Henry’s body was even rejecting platelets transfused into his body to help him fight such conditions. He has still found time though to apply for university and he has two offers in the bag. The expectation is that after a two-year ordeal involving hundreds of transfusions, a stem cell transplant and chemotherapy that Henry can move on with his life and join his friends and family on the regular version of the ‘game of life’.
Henry’s teachers hope that you are able to support their mission to raise £25’000 for two charities, the Aplastic Anaemia Trust (@AplasticAnaemia) and Anthony Nolan (@AnthonyNolan). Both these charities conduct ground-breaking research into finding cures and treatments for blood and bone marrow disorders, including Aplastic Anaemia, Leukaemia, Myeloma and Lymphoma, and both charities also offer huge support – practically and emotionally – to sufferers and their families.
Read more about Henry, these – and even more – charitable events, and how to donate to those worthy causes, here.