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Blood donation event in memory of boy with rare cancer

Blood donation event in memory of boy with rare cancer

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 6:42am 10th March 2020.

The dad of a young boy from Plymstock who died from a rare form of cancer has organised a blood donation event, on what would have been his son's 12th birthday.

Oliver Brown was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome back in 2016 at the age of eight.

He developed the disease as a result of a genetic disorder relating to his GATA2 gene, which also meant he was born deaf.

The schoolboy underwent two bone marrow transplants in three years and spent time at Cornwall's Little Harbour hospice.

But last year his family then received the devastating news there was nothing more doctors could do to treat his rare and incurable syndrome.

oliver brown blood transplants
Dad Mike donating with his son Oliver

Friends and family came together to help Oliver create special memories, including the chance to be a cop for the day with Devon and Cornwall Police and also taking part in a motorbike rideout.

Tragically, Oliver passed away in November 2019. But his blood transfusions gave him more time to spend with his family before he died.

His dad Mike held an event on Monday, on what would have been Oliver's 12th birthday, encouraging people to donate blood to help save or extend a life.

More than 30 people donated across the course of the day.

oliver brown blood transplants
Oliver getting platelets with his brother Benjamin

"Without donors donating blood and platelets for Oliver he wouldn't have been with us for as long as he was.

"That gave us more quality time, we had an incredible amount of fun together in 11 years.

"We had the most incredible journey of fun and excitement, the community and our friends came out in the droves to help that.

"Now his legacy will live on in all the kind gestures that we do for one another.

"There's many many children like Oliver, who are going through cancer treatments and other treatments that require blood and platelet transfusions, let alone adults and our friends, family and colleagues.

"So it's an incredibly proud an humbling moment to think that these people have turned out in memory of Oliver to donate blood and save somebody else's life."

Mike Brown, Oliver's dad

oliver brown blood transplants
Dad Mike donating blood

Oliver had about 100 units of blood and platelets for the rare disease myelodysplastic syndrome. He had watched his dad donate blood on a previous occasion and was fascinated by it

Around 20% of blood is used for blood cancers such as myelodysplastic syndrome. 

In the south west, there is a particular need for young men to register as new donors. Last year, only 39% of the new donors in the south west were men. 

However men have higher iron levels so they can give blood more often. 

People are being urged to sign up as donors. You can find out more information here.

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