Stem cell match found for boy with rare illness

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Jo Hill

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Finn was given the news by his parents after his first day back at school

A donor has been found for a seven-year-old boy in need of a life-saving stem cell transplant.

Finley Hill, from Belbroughton, Worcestershire, who has a a rare immune system disorder, was given the news after his first day back at school.

A panel of experts has now identified a strong enough match and a transplant is planned for November.

The boy’s mother, Jo Hill, said the family felt a mixture of “relief and fear” ahead of the treatment.

Finley has been diagnosed with Haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis or Familial HLH, which affects the ability of white blood cells to clear infections.

The donor is a man in his 40s who lives in Brazil and has been described by doctors as a “nine out of ten” match, the family said.

‘Strong boy’

“They decided it was better going for a nine out of ten than waiting for a ten out of ten that might never come,” Mrs Hill added.

Finley has “butterflies” about the procedure but is otherwise doing well, she said.

“He’s a strong boy, he’s made of strong stuff so fingers crossed he’ll take it in his stride like he has everything else.”

In May, more than 1,000 people attended an event at his school, in Stourbridge, to be tested as potential stem cell donors.

He will be admitted for chemotherapy at Birmingham Children’s Hospital on 11 November, with the transplant due to take place a week later.

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