Get in touch: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting YORK to 80360 or send an email»
William Rhodes starts his first term at primary school
A YOUNG boy who has undergone 70 blood transfusions to treat a serious illness has started his first term at primary school.
Four-year-old William Rhodes, of Holgate, undergoes lengthy medical treatments every week for Diamond Blackfan Anaemia (DBA) – a rare condition which means he may become very seriously ill if he doesn’t find a match for a bone marrow transplant before his teenage years.
He undergoes blood transfusions every three weeks and has medication administered intravenously for eight hours, six times a week at home.
The treatment keeps William alive but is also causing worrying side effects – his hearing has begun to deteriorate and the transfusions mean an alarming amount of iron has been found in his liver which could make him very unwell.
Despite this, William and his parents Ben and Caroline are celebrating a milestone as he has started at Acomb Primary School for the first time.
Caroline said: “There was a stage when he was born and diagnosed that I used to see other children go to school and I would wonder if William would reach that point because he was so unwell.
“We are really proud he has got to this point. It’s nice for him to have that normality.
“William will be five in December – he looks very well in himself, but he is a very sick little boy. Sometimes it’s difficult to explain to people actually how ill William is because to look at, you just wouldn’t believe it. He looks so full of life and energy, but there is so much going on inside his tiny body and it is a daily battle for him and us, his parents.
“He gets so frustrated at times because he clearly doesn’t have the energy to do all the things he wants to do.
“It’s very sad for us as parents. This illness is all he has ever known and this is the reason he copes with it as well as he can.”
William’s best chance would be for his parents to have genetic screening and IVF to have a tissue-matched baby.
Cells from the baby’s umbilical cord could be used to allow a bone marrow transplant as having a non-matched donor is considered too risky by doctors.
Over the last few years well-wishers have raised many thousands of pounds to allow the treatment.
But his parents have been told the chances of them having a healthy baby which is also a match for William are very slim due to the genetic recombination of his cells.
Two rounds of IVF and genetic testing have failed for William’s parents but they say they remain hopeful of trying again in the future.
• This weekend, William’s dad Ben is running the Great North Run together with 23 family and friends to raise a target of £5,000 for DBA UK to promote research and awareness into the condition.
To sponsor the team, visit justgiving.com/account/teams/wr
Comments are closed on this article.