‘Superhero’ aged six donates bone marrow to his brother

BRAVE: Herbie Taylor in Great Ormomd Street Hospital with his brother Rufus, left, before the operation

BRAVE: Herbie Taylor in Great Ormomd Street Hospital with his brother Rufus, left, before the operation Buy this photo

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Witney and West Oxfordshire. Call me on 01865 425483

A SIX-YEAR-OLD boy says he feels like a “superhero” after potentially saving his brother’s life by donating bone marrow.

Rufus Taylor, from North Leigh, near Witney, had the surgery to help five-year-old Herbie, who has a very rare life-threatening condition that means he has a dangerously low immune system.

It is hoped the transplant will stop mild infections like common colds escalating into deadly diseases.

Rufus,who returned to school within three days of donating the marrow, said: “I wanted to stop my brother being sick so I gave him my immune system.

“I was a bit scared but I was quite brave and now I feel like a superhero.”

Herbie, whose head was shaved after undergoing chemotherapy treatment before the operation, said: “I felt really happy that Rufus did that for me. I was a bit worried because I remember when I first had an operation I was sick so I was worried that he might be sick as well.”

Doctors diagnosed Herbie with NEMO syndrome – which affects the body’s ability to fight bacteria – when he was two after he suffered from bacterial meningitis and the lung infection empyema.

Last November he caught a mycobacterial infection from his sister Lily, 11, who was diagnosed with a similar condition to Herbie a year ago. Herbie spent most of the Christmas period in Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital before he was transferred to the Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London.

The family agreed he should have a bone marrow transplant to strengthen his immune system with more white blood cells. It involves using a needle to extract bone marrow from the healthier patient’s spine and injecting it into the deficient patient. Rufus must now take iron supplements for three months.

The boys’ mum Emily Taylor, 46, said: “We were incredibly lucky to find that Rufus was an exact match.

“Most people have to wait for months or years and may never find a match but we found out we had one sitting under our own roof. Rufus was so scared but he wanted to make his brother better – we were so proud.”

Herbie had the operation, which was successful, on Friday, May 16, and will stay in hospital for another two weeks.

When he returns home he will stay mainly indoors for four months and can’t go back to school until January.

Mrs Taylor has taken time out from her job as a teacher at Witney Community Primary School to stay by Herbie’s bedside while her husband Dan, 40, who runs his own home-based coal supplier business, looks after their other children at home.

The children all attend North Leigh Primary School, which organised a superhero day to raise money for GOSH and held a Skype chat between pupils and Herbie from his hospital bed.

Lily, who has a twin sister called Kitty, may also need a bone marrow transplant in the future and is currently look for a donor with a 100 per cent match.

Mrs Taylor said: “We’ve been through a difficult few years with the children, especially over the last 12 months having Herbie and Lily ill over the same time. But we’ve got the most amazing family and friends. Without the transplant it would have meant a life of long hospital stays and serious illnesses.”

 

THE CONDITION

Primary Immunodeficiency UK, a charity that supports families affected by immunodeficiencies, estimates only five children in the UK are diagnosed with the condition each year and there are about 5,000 people in the country living with it.
It is caused by mutations in the NEMO gene and affects children in different ways.
Infections, caused by common bacteria, can be found anywhere in the body and affect the lungs, skin, central nervous system, liver, abdomen, urinary tract, bones and gastrointestinal tract.

BE A DONOR

A bone marrow transplant replaces damaged bone marrow with healthy bone marrow stem cells, according to the NHS.
If a patient doesn’t have enough red blood cells their body is starved of oxygen and their organs could be damaged, while a lack of white blood cells increases the risk of a serious infection. Doctors can use a special needle to remove the blood cells and inject them into the deficient patient.
To register as a bone marrow donor, visit nhsbt.nhs.uk/bonemarrow or call 0300 123 23 23.

  • Our top stories:

Man in life-threatening condition in hospital after collision with car near Banbury

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

2:33pm Saturday 28th February 2015

A pedestrian is fighting for their life in hospital after being in a collision with a car near Banbury this morning.

Flowers planted at memorial garden to Jayden Parkinson in Didcot by family and friends

Oxford Mail:

1:29pm Saturday 28th February 2015

FAMILY and friends of a murdered teenager have planted flowers at her memorial garden today.

Defibrillator Campaign on target as 1,000 join up to be lifesavers

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Saturday 28th February 2015

AS 1,000 lifesavers have now been trained across Oxfordshire, the campaign to install more than 300 defibrillators is set to hit its target next month.

Good Samaritan conned by Botley petrol fraudster

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Saturday 28th February 2015

A GOOD Samaritan who said she was conned out of £70 by a highway fraudster is warning others about being caught in his trap.

Self-build stardom beckons as Grand Designs presenter heads to Bicester

Oxford Mail: TV presenter Kevin McCloud.

8:00am Saturday 28th February 2015

BICESTER is set for television stardom as the man behind Channel 4’s Grand Designs heads is headed to Graven Hill.

The Witney man converting old boilers into corsets for Oxford Fashion Week

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Saturday 28th February 2015

A HANDYMAN has spent the last three months fitting boilers not for the home, but for the catwalk.

‘Missing’ school leavers show big rise, county figures reveal

Oxford Mail:

6:30am Saturday 28th February 2015

THE Government has lost track of where 30 per cent of state school and college students in Oxfordshire are going when they leave, new data has revealed.

Looking for some fresh ideas to redevelop West Way shops

Oxford Mail:

6:00am Saturday 28th February 2015

DISCUSSIONS are now under way to come up with fresh ideas for the future of Botley’s West Way shopping centre.

One lane closed southbound on M40 near Bicester after crash

Oxford Mail: Lorry jackknifes on M40 causing traffic tailbacks

1:38pm Friday 27th February 2015

ONE lane of the M40 southbound has closed after an accident.

I have no hard feelings against Oxford United, says former U's boss Gary Waddock

Oxford Mail:

11:00am Friday 27th February 2015

GARY Waddock says he feels no bitterness towards Oxford United as he prepares to face the club for the first time since being sacked last summer.

Banbury-born Gary Glitter jailed for 16 years for abusing schoolgirls

Oxford Mail:

11:57am Friday 27th February 2015

Gary Glitter has been jailed for 16 years for a string of historic sex attacks on three schoolgirls.

U-turn as leader says decision to axe council chief ‘hasty’

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Friday 27th February 2015

THE decision to axe the top job at Oxfordshire County Council will be reviewed after its leader admitted he rushed it through.

Road users beware as £3m cut from the repair budget

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Friday 27th February 2015

MOTORISTS and cyclists will face bone-shaking journeys on county roads after cuts of nearly £3m in the road maintenance budget were approved.

Town Hall will fly rainbow flag in support of LGBT

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Friday 27th February 2015

A RAINBOW flag will today fly from the town hall in Oxford to mark the 10th anniversary of LGBT month.

Comments

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree