Stars back mar­row donor mis­sion for lit­tle Mar­ley, six

Western Mail - - NEWS - BRONTE HOWARD Re­porter bronte.howard@waleson­

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

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