A YOUNG Irish boy who was diagnosed with leukaemia last year has been matched with a donor for an urgent bone marrow transplant.
Bobby Browne, 8, from Bessbrook in County Armagh, first became unwell in March 2022.
He had developed a lump on his neck and was initially diagnosed with glandular fever.
However, with his symptoms worsening for 10 weeks, he was referred for further tests and was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia on on May 27, 2022.
Following his diagnosis, Bobby underwent two rounds of chemotherapy, which were unable to treat the cancer.
He was then moved from his home in Northern Ireland to England, to the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle upon Tyne for further therapy, which was also unsuccessful in treating the cancer.
It was then confirmed that he would need a blood stem cell transplant.
In recent months Bobby’s family launched a campaign to raise awareness of the need for more bone marrow donors and this week it was confirmed that the young boy had finally been matched with a donor.
Described by his parents Louise and Danny as an “amazing, funny, caring, gentle and beautiful” boy, Bobby will now undergo eight days of gruelling chemotherapy and radiotherapy in preparation for his transplant.
In a social media post this week, Bobby’s mother Louise thanked the public for their ongoing support for their campaign and asked that they now pray for her son.
“You will all know about our beautiful son Bobby and his journey so far,” she said.
“We have been told that they have a donor for Bobby and he is being admitted to hospital tomorrow to start the process.
“He has to have aggressive chemo and radiation therapy for eight days before he has the transplant,” she explained.
“As Bobby needs a match urgently, they have told us that they have had to pick a donor which isn’t a full match.
“This will mean a lot of side effects alongside those from the chemo and radiation therapy.
“We are asking that you all pray for Bobby that he will have minimal side effects and the strength to come through this.
“He has a hard journey ahead of him and he needs your prayers.”
Justin McNulty, the SDLP’s LMA for Newry & Armagh, has welcomed the news that a donor has been found for Bobby.
“The Browne family have been in all of our hearts and minds as they’ve searched for a bone marrow match for their young son Bobby, and there will be such a huge sense of relief and hope on finding a match to enable lifesaving treatment for Bobby,” he said.
“Bobby’s resilience, along with the determination of his parents Louise and Danny, has been a source of inspiration to so many people locally, something that has been evidenced not just by the outpouring of sympathy for the family, but also by the huge numbers of people who stepped up to be tested in search of a match for Bobby. “
He added: “Bobby’s story highlights the importance of being on the bone marrow donor register, and I would encourage everyone who has not yet joined to do so – you could save someone’s life.
“The goodwill and good wishes of everyone will follow Bobby as he now embarks upon the next stage of his treatment.
“My prayers are with the Browne family, particularly Bobby, so that he comes through his treatment and transplant with flying colours.”