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Family of teenager with leukaemia appeals for people to join stem cell register

The family of Daniel Greer is urging people to sign up to the stem cell register (Family handout/PA)
The family of Daniel Greer is urging people to sign up to the stem cell register (Family handout/PA)

The family of a teenager with leukaemia from Northern Ireland is urging people to sign up to the stem cell register, as a transplant is his only chance of survival.

The call for help from 16 to 30-year-old males is being made by the family of 14-year-old Daniel Greer, of Newry, who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia two months ago.

He has been staying at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children since his diagnosis and is being treated with aggressive chemotherapy.

Doctors have said his only chance of survival is through  a stem cell donation, as this would help rebuild his immune system.

Daniel Greer and his brother James
Daniel Greer and his brother James (Family handout/PA)

His mother, Anne Greer, said: “Daniel is an amazing, bright young man who lights up any room he walks into.

“His wicked sense of humour keeps our spirits up, even now while he’s in hospital receiving chemotherapy.

“I know he’s really proud that his story is inspiring people to sign up to the stem cell register.

“Those people will potentially help him, as well as many other people around the world who desperately need a stem cell transplant like Daniel.”

Young men make up more than half of all stem cell transplants for blood cancer and blood disorder patients, but they make up just 18% of the register, according to the Anthony Nolan blood cancer charity, which is helping with the international appeal, dubbed the DoItForDaniel campaign.

Daniel had been complaining of back and neck pain before a series of blood tests confirmed his illness.

Aggressive chemotherapy is being used to  place him into remission, so he may be able to receive a transplant.

Only one in four people will find a match within their family.

Daniel needs a stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor. His older brother James is not  a match.

It is hoped the sports and music fanatic, who loves anything to do with the outdoors, may be able to continue enjoying scuba diving, mountain biking and rugby.

Daniel is also a member of the Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland, where he plays the trumpet.

Home town support has so far included encouragement from pharmacies in Newry for people to sign up to the stem cell register.

There has also been an awareness-raising drive about stem cell donation at Belfast International Airport.

Anthony Nolan chief executive Henny Braund said: “Finding his matching donor would mean everything to Daniel and his family. We are committed to supporting Daniel as he waits for news of the donor who could save his life.

“Last year over 1,300 people around the world with blood cancer or a blood disorder were given a second chance of life because of the wonderful people that are signed up to the Anthony Nolan register.

“But too many people, like Daniel, are told there is no matching donor for them.

“Signing up to the register is quick and simple, and we urge anyone who is in good general health, especially young men aged 16-30, to come forward and potentially save the life of someone like Daniel.”

People aged 16-30 can go online at www.anthonynolan.org/DoItForDaniel to  join the Anthony Nolan register.