A toddler with a rare genetic condition has been given the gift of life - by his 10-year-old sister.
It’s been just over a month since Lexie Till of Whitby underwent a painful transplant operation to give a life-changing gift to her three-year-old brother Drew, who suffers from the rare genetic bone marrow failure Diamond Blackfan Anaemia.
The condition causes Drew’s body to produce few or no red blood cells and as a result he has spent much of his life in and out of the Countess of Chester and Alder Hey Hospitals for various medication and monthly blood transfusions.
When doctors told mum Helen, 43 and dad Andy, 45, that Drew would need a bone marrow transplant in order to live a healthy life, they soon discovered that Woodlands Primary School pupil Lexie was a perfect match.
She had no hesitation in volunteering to donate her bone marrow, so on June 17, Drew was admitted to the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital for five days of chemotherapy.
Ten days later, Lexie underwent the surgery where doctors removed about 700ml of liquid bone marrow, with Drew receiving it through a transfusion the next day.
Proud Helen told The Pioneer: “Lexie bounced back from her surgery and was back in school three days later after a weekend at home.
“There were a few setbacks for Drew that were caused by his treatment, he developed a central line infection which had to be removed under general anasthetic, and developed a condition called Veno Occlusive Disease, but he battled through and has progressed really well.
“Lexie should have replaced all the donated bone marrow within three months but for now it's just a waiting game.
“Drew has lost some hair and eventually allowed me to cut it short so now, more than three weeks since he received his life saving bone marrow transfusion, that is the only outward sight of what he's been through,” she explained.
And Helen is thrilled that Drew is finally home after being released from hospital earlier this week, 24 days after his transplant.
“He’s doing well; his new bone marrow is starting to make its own blood products, which will hopefully lead to a transfusion free life,” she said.
“But the journey doesn't end here. Drew now has to spend the next 6 months in isolation at home, with no visitors other than close family, weekly visits back to hospital in Manchester for blood tests, check ups and a concoction of daily medication.
“But we are so proud of Lexie for stepping in to help her little brother and it will be a blessing for the family to get some normality.”
Lexie said: "Drew means everything to me, he’s really special, and I just wanted to help him so he can have a nice life."