Meet Oscar Saxelby-Lee. This darling 5-year-old little boy is changing the hearts of everyone around the world, with a major outreach in his city that has brought over 4,000 people trying to help save this young man’s life.
Oscar Saxelby-Lee was unfortunately diagnosed in December with a rare and aggressive form of cancer known as T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. This type of cancer effects the bone marrow severely, resulting in the release of white blood cells that are not yet matured. The immature white blood cells are known as blast cells, and when they begin to increase, the amount of red blood cells as well as platelet cells diminishes severely. This will result in symptoms of anemia, which parents originally thought the young boy had. However, they found out at the hospital that he was suffering from something far more severe.
In this particular situation, the mother of the boy stated that he has already gone through three sessions of chemotherapy treatment. Unfortunately none of these treatments have worked on aggressive cancer. He is undergoing his fourth round of chemotherapy treatment currently, but they won’t know if the treatment has worked just yet.
Another problem with this young boys recovery is that he needs a transplant of stem cells within the next three months during chemotherapy. Without a transplant, the strong child will have a ‘severely diminished’ chance of survival; and this is exactly what sparked the incredible turn out to help save his life.
The first people to jump on the wagon to help get the word out and find a donor match was the little boy’s elementary school, Pitmaston Primary School, located in England. The school’s business manager recently said in a phone interview, “We decided we would do whatever it takes to find a donor for Oscar”.
It began with crowdfunding page started by the school. They originally started it with a goal of 5,000 pounds to give to the parents for treatment, however the page has gained far more views and the target goal of $5,000 has been met and exceeded by more than $8,000 pounds. In fact, the current amount on the crowdfunding page is a whopping $11,300, with more streaming in from handy helpers across the nation.
While this was an incredible achievement for the entire family, everything changed when the parents, Olivia Saxelby and Jamie Lee, got the news that their son Oscar would need a stem cell transplant in order to survive. With such a hefty challenge on their hands, they knew they needed the help of a larger organization to get the word out.
Oscar’s school and the parents decided to work hand in hand to organize an event using the DKMS. The DKMS is an international organization, completely nonprofit, that helps to find matches for donors and blood cancer patients. They knew this organization would be the key to finding a potential donor for their son, but they had no idea what kind of turn out they were going to receive.
Everyone certainly believed that plenty would come out to test and see if they were a match for this poor boy who has shown unbelievable strength and courage throughout his ordeal. But when over 200 volunteers arrived to help with the cause, they were astonished. People were helping at every angle, from registering potential donors to maintaining the parking lot of the school during the event and everything in between.
Their positivity only grew stronger and stronger that day. The first Saturday of the event, over 1,800 people arrived to see if they were a match for the young man. On the second day, a whopping 3,000 plus people arrived to be tested. It was an astounding turnout that left mother and father feeling an overwhelming sense of optimism and gratefulness of their community.
In fact, the two even left their son for a short while to thank all of the people who showed up for the event. They returned to their son, showing him a video of all the wonderful people who came to support him and potentially grant him his stem cell transplant. The video footage put a big smile on little Oscar’s face, which we can assume brought such a glow and warmth to mother Olivia and father Jamie.
To put it simply, the support and outreach of the community were astounding that day. The rain was pouring the entire time, with people standing outside in the rain with umbrellas. Nobody complained, nobody said a word about the horrid weather conditions. Everyone was so focused on helping to save this boys life, they probably would have stood out there in the freezing cold. And if that doesn’t show just how important this wonderful child is, I don’t know what would!
Over 4,000 people registered for the event over that weekend, which is a record breaker in Britain. But it didn’t stop there: “Incredible to hear that another 1,000 people registered with DKMS online last weekend,” Kate Wilcock stated on Twitter. That brings the total count of donors up to over 5,000 people, which means there is a much likelier chance that Oscar will be able to find a match, and his life will be saved.
The only thing left to do now is waiting, and that might be the most difficult part of it all. It will take at least 6 weeks before the parents know whether or not there is a match for their son, and this wait will be absolutely treacherous to say the least.
Another difficult part about all of this is the fact that it is extremely hard to find an identical match that can be used for a stem cell transplant. This is because there are over 17,000 HLA characteristics that must be assessed and match. More specifically, the proteins found in your cells would need to be a close enough match so that the patient’s immune system recognizes the protein and blood as its own and use it to fight off cancer.
While this may all be a big challenge, the family remains positive. With such outreach from the community and over 4,000 people applying to be a donor, they are in high hopes that at least one will be a close enough match to save their son.
The parents say that Oscar is completely aware of his situation in dealing with cancer and knows what needs to be done to save his life. However, Oscar remains to be a strong and happy little boy. The parents even shared a picture of him showcasing a big smile and being silly and playful on his way to achieve a bone marrow test.
If you want to help this boy, there is still plenty of opportunities. The crowdfunding page is still up and running if you would like to help with the cost of all of this agony, and you can even register and apply to become a donor with the DKMS. There will be swabbing tests taking place all over England including Worcester, Birmingham, Plymouth, and Northampton. If you live in or around one of these areas feel free to head down to the event and see if you are a match for this young fighter. Events will be held up until April, so act fast.
We hope and pray that the outcome of this little man is positive. We hope that he and the parents will be able to find a match for a stem cell transplant, and we can’t help but give a big hats off to the community that has been so inspirational and supportive.