Mum from Rogate wishes she could give donor who saved son’s life the ‘biggest hug’

Ben Walker, 11, whose life was saved by an anonymous blood stem cell donor
Ben Walker, 11, whose life was saved by an anonymous blood stem cell donor

Ben Walker, 11, was on a family holiday when his mum noticed his gums were growing over his teeth.

When Ginny took Ben to hospital concerned about this and the fact he was tired and easily frustrated, they were shocked to learn he had acute myeloid leukaemia.

Now the Rogate family is speaking out after new research found only two per cent of Brits have registered to become blood cell donors – as it was this transplant that saved Ben’s life.

Ben’s family were told his best chance ws a blood stem cell transplant but no-one in he family was a match.

After a global search and three rounds of gruelling chemo, his life was saved by a stranger.

Now Ginny is urging people to come forward and register as a donor.

“Having your son diagnosed with cancer has to be one of the most worrying and upsetting experiences a mother can go through,” she said.

“I can’t begin to explain how grateful we are that a stranger has done the most altruistic act imaginable.

“I wish I could give them the biggest hug in the world.

“I hope that everyone takes the opportunity this DKMS World Blood Cancer Day to register as a blood stem cell donor and goes on standby to save someone’s life.”

Ben said: “My diagnosis was really frightening but I knew I had to keep strong for my mum.

“Going through chemo was a really horrible experience, I didn’t expect it to be so tough.

“Now I’m so grateful to the stranger who saved my life – I can spend time doing he ghings I love: buiulding Lego, watching Harry Potter nd Marvel films and gaming.”

New statistics released by blood cancer charity DKMS, show that Brits are 28 times more likely to take a blood stem cell donation than to be registered as a blood stem cell donor themselves.

The charity is challenging more people to take the first step to register as a donor on World Blood Cancer Day today (May 28).

Brits are a generous nation – over half of us volunteer our time for charity and two thirds make regular donations to charity. Yet there is sometimes a gap in action and intention – with 39 per cent of those questioned saying they would register to be a blood stem cell donor but so few actually taking action and signing up.

DKMS is calling for people to come good on this intention, to provide more blood stem cell donor matches, and potentially help save more lives.

Lisa Nugent, head of donor recruitment at DKMS, said: “We hope that by highlighting people’s good intentions, we can encourage them to act on these and help save the lives of those urgently in need of a blood stem cell transplant.

“A blood stem cell donation can be someone’s only hope of beating blood cancer and you could be a potential lifesaver.

“If you’re 17 to 55 and in general good health, please take the first step – go to dkms.org.uk to register.

“Ben’s family were torn apart at the news of his diagnosis, however, with the help of one compassionate stranger he can now live life like any other young boy.”

People were asked to help support the fight against blood cancer by making their mark this World Blood Cancer Day and supporting the charity’s #WearItRed campaign.

To find out more visit dkms.org.uk/wbcd