AN emotional plea for blood, platelets and bone marrow has been made by the family of a man who suddenly found himself on ‘death’s door’ following a shock cancer diagnosis.
Nathan Wilkinson, 21, of Mapplewell, showed no real signs of illness before his acute myeloid leukaemia diagnosis last month but the aggressive cancer quickly spread.
He returned home from work around a month ago, only to find himself rushed to hospital in excruciating pain less than 12 hours later.
Following a number of tests, doctors found that Nathan’s disease had almost taken over his body.
His auntie, Rachel Booth, told the Chronicle the shock diagnosis hit the family at its core and they’re urging people to think about donating platelets and bone barrow after a number of transfusions have already helped save Nathan’s life.
The fundraiser which Rachel set up for Blood Cancer UK has already raised more than £1,800 but she says there’s more ways to help than just monetary.
“My eldest son, Ollie, is a specialist stem cell biomedical scientist for NHSBT and his daily work ensures the lives of people like Nathan can be saved,” she added.
“I am asking if people can donate any amount large or small.
“This will help support further research into kinder treatments and finding out why this happens.
“It will help my lovely nephew in his fight against this cruel disease and support Ollie and his colleagues to continue their vital work.
“Nathan’s sister, Jessica, has already been tissue-typed to see if she’s a match for the bone marrow stem cell transplant.
“If not he will be reliant on a donor.
“If monetary funds are low then please also consider donating blood, platelets and bone marrow.
“Without the selflessness of people doing this Nathan would not have had the three transfusions he had already needed they’ve definitely helped save his life.
“All donations will be gratefully received but if you’ve never thought about donating blood, platelets or bone marrow it’s vitally important.”
Nathan, who works at Foster’s Bakery, has started his intense chemotherapy and Rachel wants people to be aware of the speed the disease can attack.
“For a fit and healthy 21-year-old to return from work on a Tuesday and then be on death’s door only 12 hours later, it was a massive shock,” she said.
“He went to hospital with excruciating stomach pain and he was diagnosed with leukaemia the doctors said if it wasn’t acted upon quickly then it could have been fatal.
“He was rushed to Royal Hallamshire because Barnsley Hospital don’t deal with this.
“He started on chemotherapy immediately and although it was doing what it needed to, the cancer cells were attacking his organs.
“For a period of 24 hours it was touch and go with Nathan.
“Thankfully he stabilised and has since been able to undergo targeted chemotherapy.
“But we still think that he’s going to be in hospital for at least another month.”
Since his diagnosis, Nathan’s family have been doing everything they can to raise awareness of charities who help with the illness.
“We want to try and raise awareness because you don’t think something as aggressive as this could happen to someone so young,” Rachel added.
“People need to understand how quickly things like this can happen it was a matter of hours for Nathan.
“He’s responded better than all of the family to the news.
“The nurse said Nathan has got the strength of a rhino and that’s why we’ve called the fundraiser ‘Team Rhino’.
“He’s faced this head on and I don’t know where he’s got the strength from.
“He’s utterly amazed me and he continues to do so he said that he’s not going to let it win.”
The 21-year-old is a self-proclaimed metal head and his long hair was a main part of his appearance but despite losing it, he’s still managed to put others first by donating it to charity.
“He was going to lose his long hair so he decided to cut it off and donate 48cm of it to The Little Princess Trust,” she added.
“He also donated some of his skin cells for research in hopes they’ll come closer to finding a cure.
“Even though he’s going through the worst period of his life, he’s still doing whatever he can to help other people and that says a lot about the person he is.”