Donor needed for brave little Max

FOR most youngsters life's little knocks and bumps can be shrugged off as part of growing up.

Laurence Cawley

FOR most youngsters life's little knocks and bumps can be shrugged off as part of growing up.

But for little Max Braybrook they can quite simply be life threatening.

The toddler, who lives in Lavenham, was diagnosed earlier this year with Wiskott Aldrich Syndrome, an illness which puts him perpetually at risk of a stroke, cancers or bleeding caused by the typical knocks and bumps most babies experience.

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Now his doting parents are making an impassioned plea for potential bone marrow donors to come forward to give their son “hope of a cure''.

A bone marrow transplant will give the one-year-old, who is learning to walk, the best possible chance of survival.

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His 39-year-old mother Jaqui has urged as many as people as possible to register with The Anthony Nolan Trust, which finds bone marrow matches for those with leukaemia and other blood conditions, such as the rare illness from which baby Max suffers.

Mrs Braybrook, a pharmacy technician by training, told how she had known Max had a problem from shortly after birth - though his condition was not confirmed by doctors until March this year.

“I felt from when he was born that something wasn't quite right,” Mrs Braybrook, whose husband Stephen works as an AA man, said. “I had a hard time going backwards and forwards to the doctors when he had a rash which I was not quite happy with. It was a rash which is associated with low platelet levels in the blood. I was told that he was okay until March.”

Mrs Braybrook checked her son's symptoms against online medical databases and discovered the condition Wiskott Aldrich Syndrome.

She was repeatedly told it was very unlikely that he had the syndrome because it was so rare - until he was referred to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge when tests showed he had just four platelets per ml of blood (the average is between 150,000 and 450,000 per ml of blood), a level so low he was at risk of a brain haemorrhage.

Since then, Max's treatment is being managed by Great Ormond Street in London.

Mrs Braybrook told how Max's condition had put the whole family under considerable strain. However, she paid tribute to her three other children - 18-year-old Stephanie, 12-year-old Chloe and Ella, 10 - for the fortitude, maturity and understanding they had demonstrated in response to Max's condition and its impact on his parents' time.

“Between March and now I have spent the majority of my time in hospitals. We are lucky that my daughters are very well grounded - my eldest has even joined the bone marrow register.”

All three daughters have been tested for bone marrow compatibility, but none of them is a match.

She told how as Max got bigger he became more susceptible to bumping himself - something which can cause severe bleeding beneath the skin.

“It is frightening,” Mrs Braybrook said. “He is just starting to walk and even if he gets a simple knock he gets a horrendous bruise. If he gets any bangs to his head, we have to take him to hospital. If he bumps himself and we don't see it, we have to take him to hospital.”

She urged as many people as possible to add their names to the Anthony Nolan Trust's register. “Max's only hope of a cure is a bone marrow transplant from a matched donor, ideally before he is five years old,” she said. “Until then we have to live with his unpredictable condition and the risk of infections, stroke, malignancies including leukaemia and bleeding caused by typical knocks and bangs.”

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