To look at Marley Nicholas you would think he was like any other six year old boy - happy, playful, and cheeky. But what you can’t see from looking at Marley is that he is actually very poorly.
Marley has aplastic anaemia.
Aplastic anaemia is a rare disease in which the bone marrow and the hematopoietic stem cells that reside there are damaged. The condition occurs when the body stops producing enough new blood cells, leaving the sufferer with a higher risk of infections and uncontrolled bleeding.
Marley desperately needs a bone marrow transplant to save his life.
Marley’s brother, George, is not a match. Unfortunately, neither is anyone else on the world register.
Amazingly, 20,000 people have so far signed up to the donor register in a bid to find a match for Marley. Today we signed up an additional 94 people at the registration drive we held at our offices.
Karen Archer, Regional Register Development Manager, spoke to us about the importance joining the register.
“I have worked for Anthony Nolan for 14 years now. When I first joined we had just over 300,000 people on the world donor register. Now we have over 700,000 people signed up!
As sad as it is, it’s because of campaigns like Marrow 4 Marley that we get more people signing up.
It’s only when it affects you, when it’s a friend, family member or someone in your area that people go 'oh, I’m going to join the register.'
But it does help us raise awareness for the importance of people signing up.”
In the UK there are currently over 2,000 people needing to find a match.
We spoke to Nikolay Makedonski, who came along to our event today and joined the register.
“There has been so much in the local press about Marley - it’s so upsetting! It was great to hear that we were holding a registration event for him.
It definitely made it a lot less scary knowing that most people can give stem cells through their blood!
But I think even if you had to have the procedure, if it could save a little boy’s life, you would!”
Clare Kenny has a six year old daughter who was in the same class as Marley. Clare now volunteers alongside the Anthony Nolan team at registration events in the area.
“My little girl is friends with Marley, and it’s just heartbreaking. She doesn’t really understand how severe it is, but she questions us when she hears us saying it could save his life. It’s such an awful thing for them to have to deal when they are so young”
If you would like to join the world donor register and you are aged 16 - 30 then visit the Anthony Nolan website here. Alternatively, you can join the register up to the age of 55 on the DKMS website here.