‘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:

Tributes paid to man stabbed to death by Abingdon riverbank

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Tuesday 21st October 2014

A WOMAN was last night being held in custody on suspicion of murder after a man was found fatally stabbed in Abingdon.

Robber sent to prison for part in £11,000 Park End Street attack

Oxford Mail: Oxford Crown Court

9:00am Tuesday 21st October 2014

A ROBBER who beat a man up as a distraction while his accomplice stole £11,000 from his victim’s wife has been jailed.

Let Oxford expand beyond its boundaries says housing crisis report

Oxford Mail: oxford city council logo

7:30am Tuesday 21st October 2014

OXFORD is an example of a city which should be allowed to grow beyond its boundaries, according to a national report.

Drop former English Defence League leader as speaker, Oxford Union urged

Oxford Mail: The Oxford Union

6:40am Tuesday 21st October 2014

NEARLY 200 Oxford academics, students, councillors and trade union leaders have signed an open letter calling for the Oxford Union to cancel an invitation to the former leader of the English Defence League to speak.

We've had enough of pay freezes say striking JR radiographers

Oxford Mail:

6:40am Tuesday 21st October 2014

RADIOGRAPHERS from Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital went on strike for four hours yesterday in protest at a pay freeze.

Lorry driver failed to brake in time to avoid fatal crash, jury told

Oxford Mail: Oxford Crown Court

6:30am Tuesday 21st October 2014

A LORRY driver had 12 seconds in which he failed to brake before fatally crashing into a broken-down car on the M40 in Oxfordshire, a jury was told.

County council revises budget cuts to lessen burden on services for homeless

Oxford Mail:

6:30am Tuesday 21st October 2014

CUTS to help for homeless people are to be changed after concerns were raised about their impact.

Update: Murder investigation after man "stabbed on a boat" in Abingdon

Oxford Mail:

7:09am Monday 20th October 2014

A MAN was stabbed to death in Abingdon last night.

Severe weather warning for Oxfordshire following Hurricane Gonzalo

Oxford Mail: After the heatwave comes the thunderstorms: 'Yellow Alert' as heavy rain forecast

2:40pm Monday 20th October 2014

SEVERE weather warnings are in place for Oxford tomorrow.

On-target Alfie Potter hails dream day as Oxford United regain winning habit + VIDEO

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Monday 20th October 2014

ALFIE Potter hailed a “perfect day” as he came off the bench to score and give Oxford United a much-needed victory over Tranmere Rovers.

Man who scared off burglars with a sword from his Witney home is left feeling 'a bag of nerves'

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Monday 20th October 2014

A BURGLARY victim who scared off his intruders while holding a sword said the incident had left him emotionally scarred.

Britain's Got Talent star Fabia and her feathered friends go burlesque for breast cancer funds in Cowley

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Monday 20th October 2014

OXFORD’S own burlesque star Fabia Cerra hosted a special dancing class over the weekend to raise money for charity.

DIDCOT POWER STATION FIRE: 'It was a bit of an inferno' + Video

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Monday 20th October 2014

A HUGE fire ripped through a cooling tower at Didcot Power Station last night.

Taking the sugar out of diet is film’s sweet plan for Oxfordshire residents' health

Oxford Mail:

7:30am Monday 20th October 2014

YOUNGSTERS from Rose Hill have taken to the silver screen to encourage families across Oxfordshire to make healthier food choices.

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