Shropshire

Shrewsbury mum and son, 18, appeal for stem cell donors

Jack and Kate Image copyright Anthony Nolan
Image caption Jack and his mother have been shielding together since March

A family are making an appeal for stem cell donors after their teenage son's cancer returned.

Jack Fenton, 18, from Shrewsbury, was in remission after treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) but in June he was told it was back.

His mother Kate Fenton said the news, days before his 18th birthday, was "very hard to hear".

Anthony Nolan said its register had seen a "spike" of about 800 applicants in the area since the appeal began.

Image copyright Anthony Nolan
Image caption Jack says his illness has shown a cancer diagnosis can happen to anyone

Jack, a social care student, had six rounds of chemotherapy following the rare blood cancer diagnosis last summer and was told his cancer was in remission. But, three weeks ago, he was told he would need immunotherapy to prepare him for a stem cell transplant - his best chance of a cure.

'The main reason I want to share my story is because I know that lots of people will be reading this thinking it could never happen to them," Jack said.

"The reality of it is though that it does. That's not to scare anyone, but I'm just saying that I'm just a normal 18-year-old who was at college, played football, went to the gym etc yet this still happened to me."

The Anthony Nolan Trust which recruits people aged 18-30 to its stem cell register, said it "especially needs" young men who made up 18% of its donor pool but provided 50% of donations.

Ms Fenton's partner, who has children living elsewhere, moved out of the home so Jack and his mother could shield together during lockdown.

Ms Fenton, a social worker, said she hopes the appeal will help many people.

Jack is undergoing immunotherapy at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

"I have a lot of trust in them, I believe in them," she said.

"But this news is a parent's worst nightmare."

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