Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Stranger Gave Me Back My Life and I Can't Say 'Thank You' Enough; Second Chance: Donna Zammit and Son Jamie, Who Is Looking Forward to Returning to School

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Stranger Gave Me Back My Life and I Can't Say 'Thank You' Enough; Second Chance: Donna Zammit and Son Jamie, Who Is Looking Forward to Returning to School

Article excerpt

Byline: TOM LAWRENCE

A BOY who was warned he could develop leukaemia by New Year paid tribute today to the anonymous donor who saved him.

Ten-year-old Jamie Zammit was diagnosed with a genetic disease that hampers bone growth and affects only one in 6.5 million people in Britain.

Doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital sent out a worldwide alert for a donor who would match Jamie's bone marrow and his mother gave birth to a "saviour" sister in the hope that she could help him.

But by September no one had come forward and doctors said the new baby's bone marrow did not match. Jamie's parents were told the Fanconi Anaemia condition could develop into leukaemia by New Year if no donor was found.

Then a middle-aged man walked into a clinic in Spain in October and medics discovered his marrow was a 95 per cent match. Jamie underwent a transplant at Great Ormond Street and was allowed home for Christmas.

He wants to start secondary school in September, but must wait six months before he can see his friends because of the risk of infection.

He told the Standard: "I am eternally grateful the donor came forward and gave me my life back. To be given a second chance is fantastic and we cannot thank him enough.

"I haven't been at school for a few months and am now on medication for the next six months and have to stay at home. But I will be starting secondary school in September and am excited about having a normal life again." Jamie's mother, Donna, said staff at

Great Ormond Street and the Princess Royal University Hospital in Farnborough, Kent, had become a "second family" throughout her son's illness.

Mrs Zammit, 36, who has five children, said: "We know all the staff so well that they have become our close friends and have been really supportive in all the difficult times.

"Jamie's transplant was a high-risk operation so we were so worried about the outcome but the doctors were cheerful and kept us going. …

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