‘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:

City council tenants less than happy, says new survey

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Monday 26th January 2015

CITY council tenants’ satisfaction with their homes has plummeted over the past year.

Jayden Trial: Jake Blakeley accused of 'playing stupid' over Jayden Parkinson burial

Oxford Mail: Jake Blakeley, 18, from Didcot

5:00pm Monday 26th January 2015

A TEENAGER accused of knowingly digging holes to bury murdered Jayden Parkinson has been "playing stupid to win over the jury", the prosecution said.

One lane of London Road closed after manhole collapses

Oxford Mail: london rd alert

1:59pm Monday 26th January 2015

ONE lane of the London Road, Headington, has been closed after a manhole collapsed.

Relief for owners as missing cat is found 200 miles away from home

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Monday 26th January 2015

AN INTREPID missing cat has been found in Bicester, 200 miles from its home.

New Leys leisure complex proves to be a big hit

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Monday 26th January 2015

MORE than 12,000 people turned out for the official opening of the £9m Leys Pools and Leisure Centre at the weekend when fees were waived.

Universal free meals set to cost Oxfordshire schools £450,000

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Monday 26th January 2015

SCHOOLS in Oxfordshire are set to lose out on nearly £450,000 in extra funding.

New units aim to take strain off struggling A&E workers

Oxford Mail: The John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford

6:30am Monday 26th January 2015

MORE hospital assessment units look set to be set up to take pressure off struggling A&E departments.

Jayden trial: Jake Blakeley tells jury his killer brother was evil

Oxford Mail: Jake Blakeley, 18, from Didcot

8:00am Saturday 24th January 2015

A TEENAGER accused of helping his brother bury the body of Jayden Parkinson wept in the dock as he was told to look at photos of the two graves.

'I'm glad my evil ex has been jailed for injuring me'

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Saturday 24th January 2015

A WOMAN left with life-changing injuries after her violent boyfriend pulled her car’s handbrake on the A40 said she is glad the “evil” man has been jailed.

Johnny Mullins backing Oxford United's quality

Oxford Mail: Johnny Mullins

9:00am Saturday 24th January 2015

Johnny Mullins says Oxford United’s squad have the quality to get themselves out of trouble even without help from new signings.

Haggis and a wee dram on menu for Burns Night

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Saturday 24th January 2015

FAMILIES and friends across Oxford are coming together to celebrate Sunday’s Burns Night in style.

Delight at decision to replace whole water pipe in Normandy Crescent

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Saturday 24th January 2015

RESIDENTS have welcomed Thames Water’s decision to replace the water pipe running through a flood-blighted street as “a step in the right direction.”

A34 northbound re-opened after lorry crash

Oxford Mail:

8:28am Saturday 24th January 2015

THE A34 northbound between Marcham and Milton re-opened this evening after the road was closed when a lorry crashed into a ditch last night.

Plea for noisy salute today to Oxford United fan Keith Pasfield

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Saturday 24th January 2015

THE KASSAM Stadium will echo to a minute’s applause this afternoon to mark the death of a lifelong U’s fan.

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