GIFT OF LIFE: Brave Olivia donates bone marrow to little brother

BRAVE: Tommy Trayling underwent a bone marrow transplant after his sister Olivia proved to be the perfect match.

BRAVE: Tommy Trayling underwent a bone marrow transplant after his sister Olivia proved to be the perfect match.

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A courageous little boy who was diagnosed with cancer at 18 months old has been given the gift of life – by his brave big sister.

When Tommy Trayling, from Eccleston, near Chorley, was diagnosed with T cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia this time last year, his parents were left devastated.

And then Louise and Dan Trayling’s lives were thrown upside down when doctors said Tommy’s treatment wasn’t working and he needed a bone marrow transplant.

But thankfully earlier tests had shown that Tommy’s older sister Olivia – who was three at the time – was a match.

Last summer Olivia was able to help her baby brother by donating her “good blood” to replace his “naughty blood”.

Today proud mum Louise, 29, said the 12 months since the diagnosis had been awful but Tommy, now two-and-a-half, is doing well and the siblings will have a strong bond forever.

Of brave Olivia, four, she said: “If she wasn’t here, things could have been so much different. We were lucky because we knew she was a match but the fact she was three and we had to make the decision for her was difficult.

“We told her Tommy had naughty blood and Olivia had good blood and she was going to share her blood with Tommy. She was happy to do it, she knew it was a good thing.”

In February last year, Louise and Dan first realised there was something not right with Tommy. He was suffering with diarrhoea and the GP thought Tommy had gastroenteritis. However, Tommy continued to be poorly and his parents took him to the emergency GP where Tommy was found to have a swollen spleen and liver.

He was admitted to Royal Preston Hospital for an ultrasound. But in the middle of the night the results came back and Tommy was immediately sent to the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital in an ambulance. It was then that Tommy was diagnosed with T cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

He started an immediate course of chemotherapy and his parents stayed with him at the hospital while his older sister Olivia moved in with relatives.

By June, doctors told Dan and Louise that Tommy’s type of leukaemia had become resistant to standard chemotherapy and that he would need a bone marrow transplant. He had to undergo an intense dose of chemotherapy treatment in the run up to the bone marrow transplant last July.

Tommy remained in isolation for four weeks to ensure he didn’t pick up any infections and he was then allowed home to celebrate his second birthday. He needs regular check-ups, but is doing well and returned to nursery at the beginning of the year. Louise admits the check ups are a worry.

She said: “He has had a year off nursery in total but he is doing well. He is getting back to his normal self.”

Louise and Dan and their children will be invited on stage at this year’s Race for Life event at Moor Park in Preston on Sunday, May 24. They will tell their story before sounding the starting horn at 11am.

Twelve family members and friends, including Louise, took part in Race for Life in Preston last June in tribute to Tommy’s courage. Louise said: “It will be brilliant taking part this year knowing Tommy is doing well and we are so honoured to be the special guests. I would urge every woman in Lancashire to think about taking part.”

To enter Race for Life’s 5k or 10k Race for Life event at Moor Park Preston on Sunday, May 24, visit www.raceforlife.org or call 0845 600 605