It’s not an easy battle to face, but five-year-old Oscar Saxelby-Lee from St John’s, Worcester, has constantly kept a grateful attitude – smiling bright like the real trooper he is – despite the fact that he is suffering from T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a rare type of cancer.
This trait is what endeared the nation to this brave boy, who is now ready to receive a stem cell transplant that will save his life!
It is the best news ever, especially for Oscar’s parents, Olivia Saxelby, 23, and Jamie Lee, 26, who launched the appeal seeking a stem cell donor for their son. This is after doctors told them in February that Oscar will need a stem cell transplant as his last chance of battling this aggressive form of cancer.
The appeal reached far and wide, and a whopping 10,000 donors came forward to be tested. Out of that number, three people have turned out to be a perfect match, which increases the youngster’s chances of survival.
4,855 lined up in the rain when Oscar’s headteacher, Sarah Keating, organized an open day at Pitmaston Primary School in Worcester. Other donors came from as far as Wales, Shropshire and Bath. About 1,000 people went to the Guildhall to be tested and hundreds more showed up at the city’s university.
Last week, Olivia and Jaime shared that the chemotherapy was working – Oscar’s cancers cells have been reduced. This came after the youngster was forced to undergo a fourth round of treatment after the first three cycles showed no effect.
But they were in for an even better news.
Olivia shared it on the Hand in Hand for Oscar Facebook page:
“Absolutely thrilled to announce Oscar has finally got a stem cell match, not just one but three and will be under going transplant very soon!!
What an emotional rollercoaster it’s literally been a journey of heartache and dread continuosly, but ….. WOW!!!! What a feeling of relief and positivity to help Oscar kick cancers butt!!
It has been so so traumatic but we are over the moon with being given a chance to tackle the next step in treatment!!!!”
She continued by thanking all those who were instrumental in finding a stem-cell donor for Oscar.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all of you out there who have registered, supported and continued to spread the word for our beautiful boy and those in need of wonderous bone marrow cells. We could never have done this without you all!!!
I cannot tell you how ecstatic I am….we all are!!! In fact I don’t think any news has ever made us so happy in our entire lives!!!”
Olivia ended the announcement on an optimistic note.
“We know this is the beginning of yet another tough journey but we will beat this together and get him home where he belongs, living the life he absolutely deserves. Bear we are all behind you my darling.”
Olivia and Jamie – who were childhood sweethearts – had just finished decorating their new home when they received the devastating news about their son’s health.
Their concerns began when Olivia noticed that her son, who was usually energetic, had lost his appetite and became lethargic.
“Normally, he’d be running round, causing havoc, being a little monkey. But all he wanted to do was rest on the sofa. When he opened his presents at Christmas, he was really happy. But he just lay on the sofa all afternoon and didn’t want dinner.”
“He played a foam dart game with his uncle, but when a sponge arrow hit him in the face, a huge bruise came up immediately.”, she said.
Olivia’s mother, Sarah, was an NHS clinical commissioner, and her sister, Jocelyn, was a medical student. Both advised her to consult Oscar’s GP immediately since they feared that he might have anemia.
But a quick Google search of Oscar’s symptoms made the doting mother nervous that her son might have leukemia. However, the GP said that it was highly unlikely.
The results of the blood tests released that same day confirmed Olivia’s worst fear. Immediately, Oscar was taken to the hospital to receive a blood transfusion.
The boy eventually started chemotherapy, with its harsh side effects causing the boy to lose his hair and mobility in his legs, that he had to rely on a walking frame to get by. His immune system has also been weakened, and he had to be isolated after he caught flu from another patient.
Bear, as nicknamed by his parents, is undergoing chemotherapy at Birmingham Children’s Hospital while he awaits his stem cell transplant.
Stay strong, Oscar. We know you’ll get through this!