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Taverham boy begins bone marrow treatment

PUBLISHED: 11:00 08 March 2010 | UPDATED: 08:39 02 July 2010

Brandon Steward with his step mum Denise.

Brandon Steward with his step mum Denise.

Jon Welch

A 13-year-old boy is due to begin treatment in hospital this week for a life-threatening bone marrow condition. Brandon Steward, of Taverham, will undergo 10 days of chemotherapy at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children ahead of a bone marrow transplant.

A 13-year-old boy is due to begin treatment in hospital this week for a life-threatening bone marrow condition.

Brandon Steward, of Taverham, will undergo 10 days of chemotherapy at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children ahead of a bone marrow transplant.

The Taverham High School pupil travelled to Bristol yesterday with his father Gary, 40, and stepmother Denise, 32.

He was due to have tests today before chemotherapy begins tomorrow. His transplant operation is scheduled for March 18.

Brandon was diagnosed with aplastic anaemia in December 2008. Left untreated, the condition can lead to death within months but a platelet transfusion every five to seven days and a six-hour blood transfusion every two to three weeks has kept Brandon alive.

He has been waiting for a suitable bone marrow donor since September, and was last month matched with an anonymous German woman's marrow.

Mr Steward said: “Brandon's due to have some tests on Monday and start chemotherapy on Tuesday. He'll have five days on a single dose and then five days on a double dose. He will probably lose his hair.

“The transplant itself will take two-and-a-half hours, and then he will have to stay in hospital for five or six weeks to see if his body's defences start picking up a bit. His platelet count and red blood cell count should start going up.

“Then he'll be an outpatient for two weeks. In total, he'll be in hospital for six or seven weeks. We've been told his survival chances are 60/40 in his favour, so that's encouraging.

“We're finally getting somewhere and Brandon will be able to start living his life again. I'm really proud of him and the way he's handling everything. His attitude is that he's got it and he's got to deal with it.”

Brandon said: “I'm excited but a bit nervous and a bit scared. I know it's not going to be easy but I've got to do it.”

His illness and treatment have given Brandon ideas for a future career. He hopes to become a consultant specialising in the condition.

“It's been interesting talking to all the doctors and asking questions, and it will be good to be able to help other people because I will know what they've been going through,” he said.

Do you know a child battling against adversity? Call reporter Jon Welch on 01603 772476 or email jon.welch@archant.co.uk

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