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Family launch desperate search to find stem cell match for four-year-old Tommy

PUBLISHED: 16:32 18 February 2016 | UPDATED: 16:32 18 February 2016

Tommy, who was diagnosed with leukaemia in January, has less than 20 per cent chance of finding a suitable stem cell donor because he is of mixed race   /Credit: @LondonFire)

Tommy, who was diagnosed with leukaemia in January, has less than 20 per cent chance of finding a suitable stem cell donor because he is of mixed race /Credit: @LondonFire)

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An appeal to find a life-saving stem cell donor for a four-year-old boy battling leukaemia has been launched after a match could not be found.

Tommy with his parents Maxine Francis and Nigel Simpson /Credit:@Londonfire)Tommy with his parents Maxine Francis and Nigel Simpson /Credit:@Londonfire)

Tommy Simpson, from Barkingside, has less than a 20 per cent chance of finding a suitable donor because he is of mixed race.

As the son of white British firefighter Nigel Simpson, 48, and black Carribean events manager Maxine Francis, 45, Tommy faces a struggle to find a donor – which cannot be either of his parents – to save his life.

“He is our world and we won’t give up,” said his mother Maxine.

A few days before Christmas, Tommy was admitted to London’s Great Ormond Street hospital in central London for some tests, after his parents had been concerned about his health since July. He was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) last month.

Tommy is undergoing chemotherapy to which he is responding well, but he could be in need of an urgent transplant at any time during the treatment.

He was able to return home today for the weekend but will have to go back to hospital on Monday to start another chemotherapy course.

On a good day, Tommy is “his chippy-chappie self” say his parents, but the bad days are “heartbreaking”.

Only three pc of stem cells donors in the UK are mixed race, making Tommy’s chance of finding of donor very slim.

Nobody in his extended family had suitable cells to cure Tommy, and being a single child reduces his chances further.

The young boy, who loves planes and likes dressing up in his father’s uniform, is described as a “very funny person, who asks a lot of questions and has got a lot of love”.

“He wants to do what his father does,” said Maxine. “He goes to the fire brigade and he wants to be part of the gang. He is very proud of what his dad does.”

The family of three say they are coping one step at a time and are very grateful to the London Fire Brigade for their campaign #Match4Tommy, to find a suitable donor.

If you are white northern European, black African or Caribbean, or mixed race, Tommy’s family encourages you to become a donor and register on the stem cell register on aclt.org/join-the-stem-cell-register or call the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust on 020 3757 7700


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