Family Story

Hitting the milestones

DKMS is celebrating its milestone tenth anniversary in the UK this year. Just how important are milestones to patients and their families?

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For us, the most important milestones are those celebrated by families along their journey to finding their loved one’s perfect match. So this festive season we are sharing the stories of three patients, past and present, whose milestones have been marked by your lifesaving support, and who still desperately need it.

Meet Oliver

Two-year-old Oliver is suffering from a life-threatening and extremely rare blood disorder called Diamond Blackfan Anaemia.

Oliver was born 12 weeks prematurely and required multiple blood transfusions; he’s had over 40 to date. While in hospital, doctors noticed he wasn't making his own red blood cells. That was when his family received the shattering diagnosis.

Oliver with his parents
Oliver sitting on the ground in woodland

A stem cell transplant is Oliver’s only chance at a better quality of life free from needles and blood transfusions.

Oliver’s next birthday is in April. He would love to see the strawberries flowering in the garden and to be playing with his family and friends. All his parents want is for him to know that he is loved and to be living a happy, healthy life like any other toddler.

Help Josie find her match

You may remember Josie’s story from the end of 2022.

Josie desperately needed a stem cell transplant just like her big sister. Sadly, a year on Josie and her family are still looking for her perfect match.

Josie is a happy four year old child who loves playing and dancing with her big sister Adeline. She loves dressing up in her doctor’s coat and playing with her first aid kit. One day she wants to be just like her favourite cartoon doctor, Doc McStuffins.

Together we could make 2024 the year that Josie finds her perfect match and has her chance at a carefree life with her twin brother Jude and older sister Adeline.

Meet Elsie

Elsie on her 10th birthday

Elsie was born with Down’s syndrome and transient abnormal myelopoiesis (TAM). This meant she was pre-disposed to leukaemia and had a one-in-five chance of it developing before she was two.

Her family was absolutely devastated when she was subsequently diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). Elsie was treated with chemotherapy, but unfortunately, she relapsed. Her family were told her only chance for survival would be a stem cell transplant.

Miraculously, her lifesaver, a man in America, was found and Elsie’s transplant was successful! That was eight years ago. This summer Elsie turned ten years old, celebrating with friends and family at a pool party. Elsie's parents say "It’s amazing to see her shine so bright, with such joy and warmth. It makes us feel like the proudest and luckiest parents."

Meet Brooklyn

Brooklyn loves watching 'Ms Rachel, Elmo and Gabby’s Dollhouse', bashing his toys about and listening to the noises of different animals; his favourite is a pig. He’s a happy, smiley boy who never lets anything get him down despite all he’s been through at such a young age.

Brooklyn with his Dad, Matthew
Brooklyn with his Mum, Natassia

In January 2023, Brooklyn, just six months old, was diagnosed with a life-threatening and life-limiting condition, Hyper IgM syndrome (HIgM). His parents were told Brooklyn's only cure and chance of a healthy life would be a stem cell transplant. In October 2023, after months of searching for a perfect match, Brooklyn received his stem cell transplant and is now recovering well, just in time for Christmas.

We need your help

This year we are attempting to fund the registration of 500 potential lifesavers by raising £20,000. For patients like Elsie and Brooklyn, this has meant a second chance at life.

With your gift you could give that to Oliver too!

£5 covers the cost of a swab kit
£15 raises awareness of the donor register
£40 registers a new potential lifesaver
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