‘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:

Mum says Oxford Health let down son who escaped mental hospital

Oxford Mail: Ian McLean

9:00am Friday 30th January 2015

THE family of man who escaped a mental hospital, fled abroad then hanged himself in a prison cell have said he was let down by Oxford Health.

UPDATE: Snow and sleet forecast for Saturday in Oxfordshire

Oxford Mail: Ice warning for Sussex after more snow falls

12:06pm Thursday 29th January 2015

SNOW has been forecast for Oxfordshire over the weekend and a yellow weather warning is still in place for today.

Head ‘fobbed off’ over delayed Windmill Primary School extension

Oxford Mail: Windmill head teacher, Lynn Knapp

7:33pm Friday 30th January 2015

A HEADTEACHER at an Oxford primary school has claimed she is getting “fobbed off” by Oxfordshire County Council over questions about delayed construction work at the school.

Julia Knight appears in court charged with attempted murder of patient in Horton General Hospital

Oxford Mail:

4:14pm Friday 30th January 2015

A WOMAN charged with the attempted murder of a hospital patient today appeared in Oxford Crown Court.

Update: Man in court accused of £4.8m fraud at Mini plant

Oxford Mail: The production line for the mini at the BMW plant in Cowley as it looks now

3:50pm Friday 30th January 2015

A MAN has been accused of fraudulently pocketing £4.8m from the assembly and services division at the Mini plant in Cowley.

Oxfordshire County Council chief executive Joanna Simons to stand down in June - and will not be replaced

Oxford Mail: Joanna Simons

1:10pm Friday 30th January 2015

OXFORDSHIRE'S biggest local authority will scrap its top unelected position as part of a radical shake-up to save costs, it was revealed today.

Andrew Main appears in court charged with South Oxfordshire arsons

Oxford Mail:

1:13pm Friday 30th January 2015

A MAN has today appeared in court accused of three arson attacks in South Oxfordshire, including those that destroyed district council offices and a funeral parlour.

Two arrested after police raid house in Barton

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

10:34am Friday 30th January 2015

TWO people were arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods and possession of class A drugs following a police raid.

UPDATE: Car gone off road on A420 near Botley interchange

Oxford Mail:

9:10am Friday 30th January 2015

Traffic has returned to normal after an earlier accident on the A420.

Electricity substation for sale, asking price might shock you

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Friday 30th January 2015

WHOEVER snaps up this former Second World War sub-station is set for a blast of a time.

Operation Bullfinch child trafficking suspect rebailed

Oxford Mail: Scales of Justice

8:00am Friday 30th January 2015

A man arrested as part of Operation Bullfinch on suspicion of child sexual exploitation in Oxford has been rebailed.

Headteachers say 2014 results have been made meaningless

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Friday 30th January 2015

HEADTEACHERS have hit out at Government changes that they say have made this year’s league tables meaningless.

Man in court charged with arsons including blaze at council HQ

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Friday 30th January 2015

A man charged with a series of arson attacks is due to appear at Oxford Crown Court today.

Road deaths rise with 27 dead but officials say it is still historically low

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Friday 30th January 2015

THE father of Liberty Baker, the schoolgirl killed in a collision while walking to school, has called for more 20mph zones.

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