Blood brothers: Rare blood disease is conquered through one sibling’s selfless act
An 11-year-old from Bolton has been hailed a ‘hero’ by his father after successfully donating his bone marrow to his younger brother.
Yahya Patel, six, returned home from hospital this week after many months of recovery at the Royal Manchester Children’s Surgery.
The brave youngster was born with a rare condition called Diamond Blackfan Anaemia - which meant his bone marrow fails to make enough red blood cells.
A transplant was the only solution to improve his quality of life.
The brothers’ father, Zayd, said: “We tried a few other treatments like steroids which worked for a little while, but then Yahya’s body stopped producing that.
“We decided to go down the bone marrow transplant route. My wife and I were tested but we weren’t a match.
“Our eldest son, Abdullah, was a 100 per cent match. We’d been discussing it for a few years. It’s a daunting thing to undergo a bone marrow transplant and watching your child go through chemotherapy. It had to be his decision.”
After a successful transplant, Yahya is now recovering with his family at their Great Lever home and even managed to attend the end of term party at his school, Pikes Lane Primary in Deane.
However, to be a donor is not a painless process, and Zayd said that Abdullah had to undergo a psychological evaluation in order to make an informed decision.
Zayd said: “I was immensely proud of him. It’s such a selfless thing to do. Abdullah’s a bright kid so we discussed it with him last year and told him the options.
“We couldn’t force it on him, it’d be totally unfair. He read all about it and researched about transplants and he came to his own decision that it was something that he wanted to do.”
Yahya has now been home for two months and is ‘doing well’ - whilst Abudllah has made a full recovery from his own operation.
“The transplant is working perfectly at the moment,” Zayd said, “even though it could go wrong at any time. We don’t like to think like that though, we’re remaining positive.”
He added: “Yahya still has a tube in his nose because he doesn’t eat as much as he should be doing. However, the transplant will allow him to lead a normal life, there will be less hospital visits and he won’t need blood transfusions.”
The family are now raising money for the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital to say thank you to the ‘fantastic’ team for the treatment and care they have given to Yahya.
The youngster’s parents are also huge supporters of The Diamond Blackfan Anaemia Charity, which supports families of children with the rare illness.
Zayd added: “It made a big difference to us to speak to families who have gone through the same experience. The support we received from the group and the hospital was fantastic.”
To support the family’s fundraising drive visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/Yahyasbmtjourney