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Joel gets transplant go-ahead

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Test results show six-year-old Joel Picker-Spence is in remission from leukaemia, so a potentially life-saving bone marrow transplant can go ahead.

A perfect bone marrow match was found for Joel, of The Meadows, Farndon, in August, but just a day later doctors discovered that leukaemia cells had returned and the transplant was put on hold.

He had a lumbar puncture and bone marrow test on Monday followed by an MRI scan on Tuesday.

They showed he was clear of leukaemia cells after five days of intensive chemotherapy, which finished two weeks ago.

His mother, Mrs Ann-Marie Spence, said: “I was absolutely relieved. The past two weeks have been a bit of an ordeal, but we are there.

“We still have a long way to go, but at least it shows the five days of chemotherapy he had have worked.”

Joel was in hospital for several days last week because he had a raised temperature.

Mrs Spence said she was convinced the leukaemia had come back because Joel had pains in his legs and back and was really low at the weekend.

She said he slept all day on Sunday, which was unlike him.

Mrs Spence said the tests were brought forward because of this and even the doctors were surprised when the results showed he was clear.

Joel has returned to the Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, every day this week to have treatment to make sure his white blood cells are at the required level.

Joel will go into Sheffield Children’s Hospital on Thursday where he will have another lumbar puncture and bone marrow test to check he is still clear.

He is expected to leave hospital on Friday and have the weekend at home before returning to hospital a week on Monday.

He will then begin radiotherapy and chemotherapy in preparation for the transplant, which is expected to take place around October 8.

Mrs Spence said the preparation treatment would be worse than the actual transplant.

“It is horrendous,” she said. “The worst of the worst.

“The radiotherapy can cause cancer in years to come, but we have not got any choice. We have got to take that risk.”

Joel said after the transplant he was looking forward to doing things he had been unable to do while he was ill such as swimming and going to soft play areas.

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