Anyone who has had a sick child knows you would do anything to help them get better. Perth father Mark Tracy is on a mission to find his 17-year-old son Levi a stem cell match. So could it be you?
At the age of seven, Levi Tracy was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s T-cell lymphoma – and he fought bravely through two-and-a-half years of gruelling chemotherapy to reach remission.
Heartbreakingly, just a few months ago, Levi was once again hit with a cancer diagnosis: acute myeloid leukemia.
Levi’s dad Mark joined Hope Breakfast to share how Levi was feeling following the diagnosis and put out a call for help across the country.
“He’s in a pretty good space at the moment but it’s been a rough couple of months for him,” Mark said.
“He was a bit frustrated… there was a little bit of anger and resentment.
“But now he’s just determined to get out the other side of it and go and attack the world.”
Levi is currently fighting bravely through his diagnosis with chemotherapy, but desperately requires a stem cell transplant for a chance at survival. Without it, his cancer will return.
That task is proving to be very difficult. Levi’s previous cancer treatment has made his chances of finding a perfect stem cell match “extremely unlikely.”
Listen: Mark Tracy talks to Hope Breakfast’s Ally & Brendan about his son’s urgent need for a stem cell match
How can you help Levi and others in need?
Donate blood at your local Lifeblood donor centre
Along with stem cells, regular blood donation is vital for the survival of cancer patients.
One “average” acute leukemia patient requires 18 blood donations each month, during treatment.
Blood products are vital in keeping Levi healthy for long enough to find a stem cell match.
Sign up to the bone marrow registry
Stem cell matches are found by testing a person’s human leukocyte antigen (HLA) type through a blood test. While at your next blood donation, ask to be put on the bone marrow registry, specifically to be tested for a match to Levi Tracy. You will be contacted if you are a match for Levi, or another recipient.
What happens if you are a match?
If you are a match, you’ll be contacted by a health professional with next steps.
Stem cell collection generally occurs through a series of blood donations. Donors can generally return to their regular activities within a few days of donating stem cells.
Stem cells are then harvested and transplanted into the recipient.
What are stem cells and why are they so important?
Stem cells are primitive blood-forming cells that are normally found in the bone marrow, which divide and mature into different types of blood cells, which populate both the blood and immune system.
Healthy stem cells are vital for our survival. However, when they are diseased or damaged, through cancer or chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant is required to build the immune system back up.
To donate blood or enquire about getting put on the stem cell registry, visit Lifeblood or call 13 14 95.
Listen to the full conversation with Mark Tracy in the player above.