By Connie Osborne Friday 12 October 2012 Updated: 12/10 10:55
A MOTHER is calling on the Redditch community to help give her son a chance of fighting for his life.
In July this year, 14-month-old Ronnie Manders was diagnosed with juvenile myelomonocytic leukaemia - a form of cancer so rare, out of a million children under the age of four who have been diagnosed with leukaemia, just two or three have this type.
The disease creates abnormal white blood cells which are made in the bone marrow. The cells then enter the blood stream and circulate around the body, decreasing the body's protection against infection.
Doctors told the family a bone marrow transplant was Ronnie's only hope of survival, but he needs to find a donor match.
With only a 30 per cent chance of finding a match within the family, his mother, Whitney, turned to the charity Anthony Nolan to find more potential donors.
And Whitney is urgently calling on the people of Redditch to register as a donor to help increase Ronnie's chance of being cured.
She said: "Although Ronnie is having chemotherapy, it will not cure him, it will simply buy us a bit more time to find the donor that he needs so much.
"Our struggle to find him a donor has made us realise that more people need to sign up to the register, not just for our Ronnie but for everyone around the world who needs this gift of life."
A special registration event is being held at the Rockland's Social Club, on Birchfield Road, in Headless Cross on Thursday (October 18) between 3pm and 7pm and the family is encouraging as many people aged between 16 and 30-years-old to sign up to the bone marrow register. Potentially they could be a match for Ronnie or another child who suffers from leukaemia.
The 25-year-old from Lakeside added: "It is so easy to give stem cells and if you are a match to someone, you will be saving their life and giving them the most precious gift that can be given. So please, please, join up if you can as this really is a matter of life or death for so many people."
She also encouraged pregnant women to donate their umbilical cords to hospitals such as the Birmingham Women's Hospital which has just started asking mothers if they would like to donate.
"This cord blood can be used in bone marrow transplants or for research, and helps people like Ronnie where no matching donor can be found."
Despite more than 450,000 people signing the Anthony Nolan register, the charity can only match half of the thousands of people in desperate need of a transplant.
A spokeswoman for the charity, said: "We provide two potentially lifesaving transplants every day, but for every patient we help, there is another who sadly we can’t because no match can be found."
Visit www.rallyforronnie.com or www.anthonynolan.org for more information or show your support on Twitter by using the hash tag #RallyForRonnie.
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