‘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:

Sir Tony calls time on 32-year career as an Oxfordshire MP

Oxford Mail:

5:00pm Tuesday 2nd September 2014

VETERAN Banbury MP Sir Tony Baldry will stand down from Parliament at the next General Election, he has announced.

Children not alone in finding school tough

Oxford Mail:

5:00pm Tuesday 2nd September 2014

HELEN WRIGHT finds out how parents confront a financial squeeze educating their offspring, while education chiefs choke on providing meals for all pupils under seven

UPDATE: Abingdon Road reopened after pedestrian seriously injured in collision

Oxford Mail:

1:31pm Tuesday 2nd September 2014

Abingdon Road has reopened after a pedestrian collided with a car.

GBH at Bicester shopping village

Oxford Mail: Oxford Crown Court

9:10am Tuesday 2nd September 2014

A man has had his sentencing adjourned yesterday for causing grievous bodily harm in a shopping centre.

One killed, two hurt in three-car smash near Brize Norton

Oxford Mail:

9:10am Tuesday 2nd September 2014

A PERSON was killed in a three-vehicle crash on the Witney Road near Brize Norton yesterday.

Oxford United foiled on deadline day

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Tuesday 2nd September 2014

Michael Appleton is determined to do his shopping earlier next summer after Oxford United were unable to land their top target before the transfer window shut last night.

Farewell to Abingdon boy Skye Hall, who lived his short life to full

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Tuesday 2nd September 2014

IN the final hours of his life, brave youngster Skye Hall showed incredible strength and told people to remember to make the most of what they have.

Silent disco planned in memory of Liberty Baker

Oxford Mail:

8:40am Tuesday 2nd September 2014

Details have been announced for a silent disco to raise money for a memorial commemorating crash victim Liberty Baker.

Illegal drivers caught in police operation on Abingdon Road

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

8:40am Tuesday 2nd September 2014

Six drivers using mobile phones and 12 not wearing a seatbelt were stopped by police yesterday.

Proposals for Chipping Norton homes revealed as part of West Oxfordshire Local Plan

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Tuesday 2nd September 2014

RESIDENTS in Chipping Norton were given a glimpse into what their town could look like in the future.

Water firm calls on YOU to join the war on ‘fatbergs’

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Tuesday 2nd September 2014

OXFORD’S water provider called on customers not to pour fat down the sink as part of its “war on fatbergs.”

All systems go for Frideswide Square revamp

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Tuesday 2nd September 2014

INITIAL work began yesterday on the redevelopment of Frideswide Square.

RAF job no child’s play for this reservist mum

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Tuesday 2nd September 2014

FOR Cheryl Huntbach, the news isn’t just a source of information – it could show her where her next job will be.

Buses get some F1 technology

Oxford Mail: Williams F1 Image by Craig Styles(C)

7:30am Tuesday 2nd September 2014

A FORMULA One team from Oxfordshire has been the inspiration behind a new fleet of low emission buses.

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