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Almost 9,000 sign up as donors following appeal by family of Newry boy (14) battling cancer

"We have seen 8,826 registrations for stem cell donations in a week”, a spokesperson for the charity said
Daniel Greer Credit: Family Photo

Daniel Greer Credit: Family Photo

Christopher LeebodyBelfast Telegraph

Almost 9,000 people in Northern Ireland have signed up to be potential stem cell donors in the past week after the family of a 14-year-old battling leukemia told their story.

The blood cancer charity DKMS said there had been a spike in registrations from here, with the organisation normally receiving five to ten a week.

Instead, at least 8,800 people have registered following the appeal by the Greer family.

Daniel Greer from Newry is currently in the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Belfast after receiving the devastating diagnosis earlier this month.

Doctors have told the boy he will require a bone marrow transplant which may save his life and his family have now started campaigning to get people across Northern Ireland to sign up to the donation register.

In a statement, the charity told the BBC they had seen “an incredible spike” as a result of the story being shared.

"We have seen 8,826 registrations for stem cell donations in a week, compared to a typical week of five to 10 registrations from Northern Ireland,” a spokesperson for the charity said.

"We would actively encourage anyone who has registered to return the home swabbing kit as soon as possible.

"We know 18 to 30-year old men are often selected as the first choice of donor - if anyone in that age group has not registered, we would encourage them to do so.

"We have been touched by Daniel's story, he is young and it is upsetting but there is an opportunity for him to live a normal life again if we can find a matching donor."

The cancer was first spotted in Daniel after the teenager began complaining of back and neck pain around a month ago.

Speaking to BBC’s Talkback show earlier this week, mum Anne described it as like “waking up in a nightmare”.

“All I could say is I would appeal for anyone who is eligible to sign up to the bone marrow registry,” she said.

“Anybody who is listening to this who is thinking this is terrible. If you were put in the position we are finding ourselves in, if you would take a bone marrow or stem cell donation from a complete stranger - you should be on this register.

“I hope this message goes out far and wide.”

To register as a potential donor, go to www.dkms.org.uk to sign up.

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