Barrow-born Everton legend appeals for stem cell donors following tragic diagnosis of son
Barrow born Everton legend Gary Stevens is appealing for blood donors after his three-year-old son Jack was diagnosed with leukaemia.
Stevens who now lives and works as a private physio in Perth Australia told Sport Furness “Life feels very fragile at the moment”.
He is appealing for more blood donors to come forward to help people like Jack. The short-term aim is to get Jack, who is undergoing chemotherapy at Perth Children’s Hospital, well enough for stem cell treatment. For that, he needs a donor match.
Former Evertonian Stevens has FA Cup winners medals, English 1st Division leagues medals and even won a European Cup, but he now asks for only one thing. He said: “Jack must have had 20 pints of blood transfused over the last eight weeks. So please give blood, and when you do please ask to be put on the stem cell register.
“It’s just the same as donating blood. There is no operation, nothing at all. But it could give somebody like Jack exactly what he needs.”
In the UK, young men aged 16-30 provide over 55% of donations, but they make up only 16% of the register.
Stevens added: “All over the world there is a register of willing stem cell donors. Anyone who gives blood can ask to be put on it. What we know at the moment is that the registry hasn’t produced a match for Jack.
“His older brother Oliver has come up as a match and they need to do lots more testing around that. But the more people who have their names on that register, the more chance there is for people like our little boy.”
The Anthony Nolan trust manages and recruits donors in the UK. Would-be stem cell donors can fill in an online application form and receive a simple home-testing swab kit which they then post back
Once on the register, the charity will save your details and will cross-checks patients who have a range of blood and bone cancers with their 670,000 volunteer donors to see if they can donate life-saving stem cells. Donating stem-cells is a painless procedure but can offer hope and a life-saving patients to the recipient.
Regardless of your thoughts on the blue-side of Liverpool, signing up to the register is a life-saving and worthwhile cause, and we urge all our readers to consider it.
For more information or to join the register, please visit the Anthony Nolan website.