An appeal for a stem cell donor for a young soldier who is facing a battle with a rare type of leukaemia has been launched in BFG.
Pte Myles Brown, 27, who is currently serving with Paderborn-based 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (B Company), was diagnosed in April with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) and within
a few days the doctors had started treating him. Since then he has remained in a German hospital.
Myles, who is originally from Sleaford, Lincolnshire, has been warned that the disease may have already spread. He is currently receiving radiotherapy due to a suspected growth on his brain after recently contracting pneumonia.
His sister Sophie said: “They want to start his stem cell treatment next month but he needs a suitable donor. If he doesn’t find one they have said he could need chemotherapy for two more years.
“So many people are unaware about stem cell donation. Before Myles was ill we had never known about it really.”
Myles is unlikely to be cured by standard chemotherapy: leukaemia can, unfortunately, return if any cancerous cells remain in the body.
If a match is found it would mean that doctors can put new, healthy stem cells into his body where they would begin to grow and make healthy blood cells.
After consulting with UK charity Anthony Nolan, 1 PWRR decided to team up with the charity to test the BFG community and endeavour to find a match for Myles.
This will be taking place between July 12 and 13 across various locations. The test is very simple: all that is required is a saliva sample collected with a Spit Kit, so that it can be tested for a match.
Pte Myles Brown joined the Army in 2008, has served in Afghanistan and is currently based in Paderborn.
Without the transplant, he faces years of chemotherapy to try and keep the disease under control, risking long-term damage to his body.
Pte Brown is a father to 18-month-old daughter, Lilian and is engaged to his German partner Vivienne. The family are reaching out to the Army community after being unable to find a match within the family.
His mother Vikki, 51, is unable to donate as she recently had breast cancer treatment and brother Thomas, 30, sister Sophie, 28 and his fiancé have been tested and are not a match.
Sophie, is incredibly proud of her brother both on and off the battlefield.
She said: “He loves being in the Army and he could end up being medically discharged. He is trying to stay positive but it is so hard for him.
“He toured Afghanistan in 2011, and he lost a close friend out there. He has really done his part.”
Only around 650 people are diagnosed with ALL each year in the UK. Adults and children can get it but it is most often diagnosed in younger people.
The outlook for adults is less promising, with around 40 per cent of people aged between 25 and 64 living for 5 years or more after diagnosis.
If a successful match is found, then there are two different ways to donate.
Nearly 90 per cent of people give their stem cells through peripheral blood stem collection, a simple process similar to donating blood.
However, in some cases a patient will need stem cells from bone marrow. In this instance, bone marrow is donated from the pelvis.
Myle’s family and regiment are appealing for anyone who fits the criteria to be tested in a bid to provide this potentially life-saving transplant.
For more information please visit the Anthony Nolan website: www.anthonynolan.org