PIONEERING surgery which involved the transplant of blood cells from a horse into a Strabane schoolboy has failed.
Last October 10-year-old Lucas was diagnosed with Aplastic Anaemia, an illness which occurs when the body stops producing new blood cells.
Since his diagnoses Lucas has been surviving on blood transfusions. However there was new hope for the St Mary’s PS pupil when doctors began a pioneering treatment on him last Christmas.
The innovative treatment involved extracting cells from Lucas which were then injected into a horse.
It was hoped the animal would develop new cells which could then be extracted and transplanted back into Lucas in a bid to fight the life-threatening condition.
Unfortunately in June this year the Bogle family got the devastating news that the treatment had been unsuccessful.
As a result Lucas’s only option was to travel to Bristol for bone marrow surgery.
Faced with the prospect of countless journeys across the Irish Sea and being miles from family and friends Lucas’s mum Cheryl made an urgent appeal to Our Lady’s Hospital in Dublin to allow Lucas to be treated there.
“I went to the doctors and explained our circumstances, there was no way Lucas and I could have travelled to and from Bristol,” said Cheryl explained.
“I have two other young sons, Jack aged 11, and Levi aged six and unfortunately I can’t drive. When Lucas became sick we relied on lifts from family and friends, or I paid for a taxi or got the bus.
Recently we have been availing of the voluntary ambulance service. It would have been impossible for me to get him to Bristol on a weekly basis
“Thankfully Dublin accepted and we have already met with the transplant team there.
“At the moment Lucas has a match on the American donor registry for stem cells which should be arriving in Dublin within the next six to eight weeks for transplant. We are still waiting on a bone marrow match, but we are hopeful something will turn up.
“We are not giving up,” continued Cheryl. “I am just praying he will get a bone marrow match soon. I cannot emphasised how grateful we are that Lucas can have the treatment in Dublin. At least it is one less thing to worry about.”
Cheryl said keeping Lucas’s and her family’s lives as normal as possible has always been a priority for her.
“The weekly trips to Belfast was the hardest part for us as a family,” said Cheryl. “Lucas hasn’t been able to go back to school since before Christmas and it’s hard because I know he is missing out.
“But his brothers love him and I try to organise some fun time where they can all get together and play as much as possible.”
Cheryl, who had to give up her own education to care for her children full-time, explains they rely solely on the good will of others.
“We are just so fortunate to have such wonderful family, friends and neighbours who are always willing to help out. At one stage Lucas was admitted into hospital 12 times in one month, never once was I stuck for a baby-sitter.”
Cheryl also thanked Urney GAC and some of the local schools including St Mary PS, Gaelscoil Uí Dhochartaigh and St Columba’s PS Clady for holding fund-raising events, as well as those family and friends who also organised their own fund-raising events for the family.