Mum's joy as donor match gives hope for Ozzie Rodgers
The mother of a 15-year-old boy preparing for a bone marrow transplant has spoken of her gratitude to the community in Magherafelt after residents came out in force to sign up as donors.
Ozzie Rodgers was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia in October.
He is currently at the Royal Victoria Hospital for Sick Children, where news came through yesterday that two registered donors with matching bone marrow have been found.
The outcome is one that members of Ozzie's rugby club, Rainey Old Boys in Magherafelt, were desperate to make happen.
Last weekend Heather Thornton, from the club, organised an appeal for young people to sign up as donors in the hope that one would be a match.
Ozzie's mother Miranda said she has been overwhelmed by the response in Magherafelt.
She said: "We have just been told two matches for Ozzie's bone marrow have been found - one in England and one in America, we are so grateful and ecstatic.
"These were people who were on the Bone Marrow Register, which shows how worthwhile it is signing up, because it does work and it does save lives. We are so grateful to everyone from Magherafelt who turned up on Saturday to register as donors."
The discovery of a matching donor ends a fraught three months for the family.
"Ozzie had been feeling unwell from September 20 after a training session at Rainey Old Boys Rugby Club and the next morning the glands in his neck were swollen and he had flu-like symptoms," his mother said.
"He was very tired, pale and taking paracetamol constantly, and while the doctors originally suspected glandular fever, the test came back negative. Ozzie was admitted on October 8 to A&E and by the following morning our lives changed forever when we were given the diagnosis."
Ozzie's chemotherapy lasted for 10 days. But his leukaemia did not respond as well as hoped.
He suffered a fungal infection in his lungs, sickness and constant temperatures. He has also suffered moderate heart damage and lost 17kg in weight.
"The chemotherapy had taken its toll on him physically and mentally but Ozzie has finished his second round of chemo and I feel he has turned a corner within himself," his mother said.
"On Christmas Eve he will be having a bone marrow aspiration and lumbar puncture to check how his bone marrow is and then the next pathway will be determined, prepping him for a bone marrow transplant in Bristol some time in the New Year."
Heather Thornton said: "Ozzie is a very important member of our club and we really wanted to do something to help him. We are delighted that not one but two donors have been found for Ozzie and, who knows, maybe one of the people who signed up on Saturday will get a call to say their bone marrow is a match for someone, somewhere."