Thomas Gay, who lives in Brackenfell, is only eight years old, but in his short life he has been through the mill, having been diagnosed with leukaemia when he was just five.
He’s waiting for a bone marrow transplant and has undergone aggressive chemotherapy to rid his small body of the cancer cells that have devastated his system for three years now.
His father, Justin Gay, says the family is waiting to see when the hospital can schedule the operation but it all depends on whether Thomas is in remission, as he has to undergo further chemotherapy.
“Thomas was declared clear of cancer in December last year but in March he started feeling unwell, and the cancer had returned. He needs more chemo, as he must be in remission in order for the transplant to proceed.”
The operation costs almost R700 000, said Mr Gay, and while the family has received funding for more than half of the costs, they are desperate to get funds to cover the entire cost of the procedure.
Thomas’ mother, Nicolene Gay, told Northern News: “Thomas was in remission, and we were busy with the last preparations for both him and the donor before the transplant procedure could start.
“The doctors had to make sure he is still in remission, therefore they drew bone marrow for the necessary tests. The results showed there are more active cells in the marrow.
“They need to do more tests now in order to see exactly what cells they picked up on and also how aggressive it is. My husband took him to the hospital this morning (Monday June 13). The results will determine the types of chemo that will be required.
“The transplant can be done as soon as he is in remission again.”
According to Mr Gay, the procedure for the operation is very complicated, with a port attached to the donor and another to Thomas in order to draw out the marrow and transplant it.
While a donor has been found, Thomas will have to spend 31 days in the hospital’s intensive care unit, and then three months in a quarantined room so that he does not get any infection. “It’s all very costly, and we are in need of more financial help,” he said.
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