In a heartwarming turn of events, nearly 5,000 people turned out and queued in the rain in order to see if they were a donor match for a young boy suffering from cancer. Following a heartfelt appeal from the parents of Oscar Saxelby-Lee, as many as 4,855 people braved less than ideal weather conditions to check whether they were a stem-cell match for the five-year-old boy, who needs a donor very quickly to treat an aggressive and rare cancer.
It all started when Oscar’s parents noticed that he had quite a lot of bruising on his body. They took him to the doctors and they confirmed that it was T-cell acute lymphoblastic lymphoma (T-ALL).
That began a race against time. The health professionals are worried that Oscar may only have months to get the help that he badly needs.
After Oscar’s diagnosis in December 2018, his parents – Olivia Saxelby and Jamie-Lee – launched an appeal called ‘Hand in Hand for Oscar’, aimed at getting people to register to be a blood stem-cell donor.
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.”
“From that moment of fear and confusion, we as a family became stronger than ever. Oscar reminded us how to fight again and just how courageous he is. Not once has he shown weakness, nor has he ceased to amaze us throughout the most difficult times and that to us is a true warrior.”
“Oscar is a fun, loving, energetic five-year-old boy who deserves to live to the full alongside the other troopers fighting such horrific diseases. Not only does he need to enjoy a normal life a child should live, he now needs someone else to save him,” she added.
So, more than 4,800 people queued up outside the Pitmaston Primary School near Worcester this weekend in the hope that a suitable donor might be found. Oscar’s school teacher, Sarah Keating, said: “I’ve been teaching for 20 years and I’ve never had a child go through something like this.”
“You hear about children getting cancer and you think ‘that’s dreadful’, then you move on. In this case, we haven’t moved on, we will fight this.”
A teaching assistant at the school, Laura Senter, added: “I couldn’t believe it [Oscar’s diagnosis]. 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. I visited Oscar in hospital last month when it was his birthday. All the parents bought gifts for him.”
Here’s hoping a donor is found and Oscar can get the treatment he needs soon.