Jake Larkin
Jake Larkin.


American Boy Meets Transatlantic Bone Marrow Donor

An American boy's life was saved in 2012 by an anonymous bone marrow donation. On June 6 he flew to Britain to meet the donor.

Jake Larkin, from San Francisco is eight years old. When he was six he was diagnosed with severe aplastic anaemia, a rare condition in which the bone marrow does not make enough blood cells. He was treated in California with immune suppression treatment but it did not work.

Jane Theobald, a teacher at Welland Park Academy in Market Harborough, England, was the only matching donor for Jake on any of the world's bone marrow donor registers. Jane, 59, had been on the Anthony Nolan register in the 1970s when Shirley Nolan was looking for a donor for her son, Anthony, but this was the first time she had been

Following a donation, the patient and donor have to remain anonymous for two years and Jane received an anonymous letter from Jake's parents thanking her for her donation.

It read: "Your gift saved the life of a little boy, but so much more, you saved the hearts of so many people who love that little boy. And you did save his life, as surely as if you had scooped him up off of train tracks in the shadow of a speeding train.
Jane Theobald
Donor Jane Theobald.
Photo by Andrew Carpenter
Our son was not going to live, he was not going to grow up, he was not going to be here with us. We, as his parents, would have done the unfathomable, we would have said good-bye to his warmth, his giggle, his smell, his skin, his amazing wit, his potential...without your gift we would have buried our son. But you did scoop him off those train tracks, in the shadow of a speeding disease, and so his dying is only a 'what if' that we try to avoid as we appreciate each new day. Our beautiful little boy is here, happy, healthy, a little brother, a cousin, a nephew, a friend, laughing, dancing, being silly–being alive. And we are forever indebted to you."

Jane and Jake's mother Kimberly are encouraging more potential donors to join the Anthony Nolan register in the UK (www.anthonynolan.org) and others around the world including Be the Match in the United States (www.bethematch.org).

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