4,800 People Waited for Hours in the Rain to See if They Were Eligible Stem Cell Donors for Little Boy with Rare Leukemia

On December 28, 2018, five-year-old Oscar Saxelby-Lee was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of leukemia. Now he’s in a race against time to find an eligible stem cell donor to save his life.

The diagnosis was a shock to his parents, teachers, and friends. His teachers say he was his normal self- happy and go-lucky before he left for Christmas break. But when Oscar developed unexplained bruises on his body his parents took him in to get checked out. Leaving with a cancer diagnosis was not in their plans. But then again, it never is.

Currently Oscar is in isolation at the hospital and he’s unable to eat. Doctors have told the family their time frame to find a stem cell match is just three months. Still, his family is determined to fight.

“We have gone into ‘action mode’ to try and find a donor.”

Hand in Hand for Oscar

Oscars parents, Olivia and Jamie, have begun a campaign to encourage as many people as possible to join a blood stem cell donor register. They’ve called it “Hand in Hand for Oscar.”

Their community instantly responded to their plea.

Over 4,800 potential donors stood in a line for hours in the rain outside of Pitmaston Primary School to see if they were eligible. Volunteers helped run the testing event all weekend, assisting with registration forms and the distribution of swabs.

DKMS was the charity present responsible for testing the swabs. They confirmed it was the largest turnout they had ever seen for a registration event. Up until then, their highest number was 2,200 people.

Keeping Hope

Oscar’s parents say the main source of their continued hope and strength is Oscar himself. From the beginning he has shown nothing but determination and bravery. His cheeky smile has remained in tact throughout it all, never showing signs of weakness. Olivia and Jamie call him a warrior.

You can read more about Oscar’s leukemia story and his search for a stem cell donor here.


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