Stars back marrow donor mission for little Marley, six
HEIDI Klum, Vernon Kay and even Beyoncé’s mum have joined a campaign to help a six-year-old boy find a bone marrow donor.
Marley Nicholls, from Bettws in Newport, has been diagnosed with a rare disease called aplastic anaemia, which stops his body producing enough blood cells.
The St Julian’s Primary School pupil desperately needs a bone marrow transplant or he could die within the next two to three years.
But tragically the family has been told nobody on the worldwide register is currently a match for the little boy.
Marley’s mum, Shaney Truman, set up a campaign called Marrow for Marley to encourage people to get tested and see if they could be a suitable donor. More than 14,000 people have since joined the donor register.
Now famous faces such as supermodel Heidi Klum, TV presenter Vernon Kay and Beyoncé’s mum, Tina Knowles, are backing the campaign.
Ms Klum shared the campaign on her Twitter page, which has 5.22m followers. The 45-year-old wrote: “This little boy needs a #BoneMarrowTransplant, please register today to become a donor and help Marley find his match!”
Marley’s dad, Joe Nicholls, said the family are overwhelmed by the support they have had from the public.
“It’s just incredible really. Since the Facebook page was set up more than 14,000 have signed the register and the more people that register the more chance we have of finding a match. It’s amazing that celebrities have got involved and are sharing the page, especially because it means it will reach so many more people.
“But it’s just a waiting game at the moment. I wouldn’t wish this on anybody else.”
Marley started feeling unwell in July. After seeing the family’s out-ofhours GP, who referred them to the Royal Gwent Hospital for tests, it was initially feared that Marley had leukaemia. But following bone marrow analysis he was found to have aplastic anaemia.
“He was so weak and sluggish, and despite giving him paracetamol his temperature just wouldn’t come down,” said mum Shaney.
“Up until this point he has always been a very healthy little boy.”
The family are urging people aged 17 to 55 to get tested and join the donor register. The test is simple and involves a swab of the mouth.
Shaney said: “I’m just a mum trying to do my absolute best for my little boy. Marley deserves a future, just like any other six-year-old.
“Giving blood is also vital because it saves people in many circumstances, and if donating doesn’t help Marley it may help someone else.”
Other celebrities to back the campaign include Vernon Kay and Keith Lemon – who shared the Marrow for Marley appeal on their personal Twitter accounts.
The family are hosting regular events where people can go along for a free mouth swab to see if they are a match. The next one is being held today at Newport’s Rodney Parade from 1pm until 7pm.
> Marley Nicholls, left, with his younger brother George
> Heidi Klum