August 7, 2020

‘Because of our ethnicity, the chances of finding our son a matching donor were extremely slim. It was heart-breaking.’ – Anesu’s transplant story

'Because of our ethnicity, the chances of finding our son a matching donor were extremely slim. It was heart-breaking.' - Anesu's transplant story


After a difficult year, things are on the up for four-year-old Anesu and his family. His recovery is going well after receiving a cord blood transplant. His dad, Alvin, wanted to share their story to encourage more people from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds to join the register.

Last year, we got the devastating news that our bubbly, kind boy Anesu had leukaemia. The next few months were traumatic. We almost lost him at one point. I remember seeing the consultants and nurses around his bed and they told us they were doing everything they could but ‘it’s not looking good’.

He underwent gruelling rounds of chemotherapy and was in remission, but a month later, the leukaemia came back. We were told that the only way to possibly save him would be through a bone marrow transplant. But, we were warned that being from a Black ethnic minority background, the chances of finding him a matching donor were extremely slim. It was heart-breaking.

After what felt like ages of waiting anxiously, we got the great news that Anthony Nolan had found a donor from Germany who was a 9 out of 10 match, and a date was set for Anesu’s transplant. Then, Covid-19 decided to make an entrance to the scene…

It meant that the transplant would have to be delayed but Anesu’s leukaemia cells were rapidly increasing. He had to go through more gruelling treatment and spent several weeks fighting an infection bug. Once the infection and leukaemia cells were under control, the team decided to go ahead with the transplant sooner, using cord blood instead.

This whole experience has taken a toll on Anesu and all of us. That’s why I wanted to raise awareness to encourage people from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds to join the register. The difference you can make is too great. Put yourself in our situation – imagine the thought of losing someone to something that can be fought by people who could easily volunteer themselves?

We hope that this transplant will give us our family back. Anesu’s recovery is going really well and we’re just taking each day as it comes. There is still a way to go, but it is awesome to see him smile!’



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