"Oscar reminded us how to fight again and just how courageous he is" and the boy was able to bring almost 5,000 people together to help the boy in his fight against the disease.
It's unbearable to see a child limited to a hospital bed, attached to tubes that shrink their lives to fit the walls of a hospital room. It can leave parents feeling helpless and afraid, hoping that something will tilt the odds in their baby's favor.
For Olivia Saxelby and Jamie Lee, the odds did tilt in their son's favor with the help of thousands of people who showed up to help the little boy. Their son, Oscar Saxelby-Lee was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which is not only rare but also needed stem cell donations.
The parents were told that Oscar's life was on the line and if they didn't receive the right donation within three months, they might lose him. Although devastated, they didn't want to lose hope for their brave boy. "We felt like we could not see light at the end of the tunnel, but when looking at Oscar's cheeky smile, bravery and determination, we managed to pull our strength together again," Olivia said, as reported by Independent.
They could see that Oscar was a true warrior, but he just needed someone else to show up and give him a bit of help. “From that moment of fear and confusion, we as a family became stronger than ever. Oscar reminded us how to fight again and just how courageous he is," the mother added. “Not once has he shown weakness, nor has he ceased to amaze us throughout the most difficult times and that to us is a true warrior."
The parents launched an appeal so that they could find a match for their son, hoping that people would be kind enough to step up and offer what their young fighter needed for his battle against the disease.
“Oscar is a fun, loving, energetic five-year-old boy who deserves to live to the full alongside the other troopers fighting such horrific diseases," the mother said. “Not only does he need to enjoy a normal life a child should live, he now needs someone else to save him.”
What the parents never expected was that a record-breaking number of people would show up for Oscar. The donor search took place at the Pitmaston Primary School, in Worcester, and a staggering number of 4,855 people lined up in the rain, patiently waiting for hours so that they could be tested whether they could help save the life of the five-year-old.
The stem cell swabs were tested by a charity referred to as DKMS, which pointed out that the highest turnout they previously witnessed had 2,200 people participating. But the number of people moved by Oscar's need was more than double the previous record.
“If a child falls over and cuts their knee, you can put a plaster on it. With something like this, you can’t just fix it. That’s why we have gone into ‘action mode’ to try and find a donor," Oscar’s teaching assistant, Laura Senter, said according to New York Post. "I visited Oscar in hospital last month when it was his birthday."
Their efforts bore fruit and it brought an entire community together, ready and willing to donate. For Olivia, seeing all those considerate people line up for her son was "a million times" better than winning the lottery, as reported by BBC
. They found three stem cell matches for Oscar and the mother added, "Knowing that someone out there will potentially save him is incredible."
While the fight still continues, the stem cell matches gave Oscar a much better chance of overcoming his disease and hopefully having a normal childhood. Olivia added, "It will be scary, it will be tough, but we are prepared because we know he has got the strength to pull through and we are just over the moon."
Young Oscar has undergone chemotherapy and been in and out of the theatre since the donations and he continues treatment today. Understandably, there are some difficult days that are harder than others. But the cheeky smile that his parents love still remains through it all.