A South Yorkshire Police officer is urging people to join the stem cell register after her son was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia.
On the 9 April, PC Nickie Walch took her 14 year old son Harrison to their GP after concerns about his health.
Three hours later, after some blood tests, the family received a call they will never forget, they were told to get Harrison to Sheffield Children’s Hospital as soon as possible.
Initial tests showed he had blood cancer, the next day he was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML).
Having undergone two rounds of chemotherapy, Harrison has now been told he is at high risk of relapse and needs a stem cell transplant.
His sister has been tested and isn’t a match. The worldwide Stem Cell Register has also been checked, and at present there isn’t a 100% match listed.
Nickie, who is a neighbourhood officer in Sheffield, is now encouraging people to consider signing up to the register and working hard to raise awareness of stem cell donation.
“We had no idea about stem cells before Harrison was poorly, it’s a new world to us and whilst we wish we’d never had to enter it, we want to do all we can to raise awareness about stem cell donation.
“We are desperate to find the best possible match for Harrison, but we’d also like as many people as possible to sign up to help the thousands of other people who need a transplant too. Unfortunately until you’re in a situation like this, you don’t realise how significant signing up to the register is.”
Visit Antony Nolan to find out more about signing up and what it involves: www.anthonynolan.org/Harrison
There’s a short video about how to become a stem cell donor here:
Victoria Pritchard from Anthony Nolan added: “For someone with blood cancer, an amazing stranger donating their stem cells could be their best chance of survival. If you sign up to the Anthony Nolan stem cell register, you could be that stranger. You could be their second chance of life.
“Anthony Nolan is the charity that makes lifesaving connections between people with blood cancer and incredible strangers ready to donate their stem cells. We’re saving lives right now. Three lives a day, in fact. But we can’t do it without you. Without you, there is no cure.”
You can follow Harrison’s progress by searching Harrison Kicks Leukaemia on Facebook and Instagram.
As part of efforts to raise awareness for stem cell donation and fundraise for Sheffield Children’s Hospital, Harrison’s family and colleagues from across the force have organised a Fun Day at EIS on 28 July.