It’s utterly heartbreaking to read about any youngster who’s battling a life-threatening illness.
I was especially moved to read about young George O’Shaughnessy who, at just three years old, is fighting leukaemia for the second time in his short life.
His mum and dad, Amy and Craig, took to the pages of The News last week to urge readers to sign up to the Anthony Nolan Trust to become bone marrow donors in the hope that someone, somewhere could save George’s life.
They’re also asking people to sign up to give blood, because after receiving 26 complete transfusions, George needs as much blood and platelets as possible.
It is desperately sad that a child like George should be going through so much.
He was first diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia two years ago, aged just 22 months. He went through nine months of intensive chemotherapy and began the maintenance chemotherapy every day at home.
Unfortunately, in October doctors confirmed he had relapsed and the leukaemia had returned. It had also spread to his spinal fluid and right kidney.
Now George is going to have to endure high-dose chemotherapy and his mum says he will require continued chemotherapy, total body radiotherapy and a bone marrow transplant at Bristol Children’s Hospital in the new year.
But he’ll only get a bone marrow transplant if a donor can be found – and that’s where we come in.
Six years ago, I and a whole load of reporters, advertising reps, newspaper sales people and other News staff went to Portsmouth Guildhall to sign up to the bone marrow register. That was in response to a similar appeal, that time for baby Jasmine Andrews who had a rare immunodeficiency disease.
A donor match was found through the Anthony Nolan database – and that’s why I’m joining with George’s parents in urging everyone to sign up to save his life this time.
If you’re aged 16-30, log on to anthonynolan.org to join the donor register. If you’re 17-55, you can donate through Delete Blood Cancer at dkms.org.uk/en or call 020 8747 5620. To give blood, visit blood.co.uk.
I WANT HIM TO BE REMEMBERED FOR BRINGING JOY AND LAUGHTER
So 2016, the year that even Fidel Castro could not survive, has claimed another famous life.
This time it’s Andrew Sachs, the actor most famous for his role as Manuel in Fawlty Towers.
It’s incredible that one actor who played one character in a TV show that only lasted for 12 episodes should be so much a part of people’s psyches, but that’s his legacy to us.
At least I hope it is.
All the news reports of his death mentioned the time in 2008 when Jonathan Ross and the awful Russell Brand made obscene calls to the actor and joked about how Brand had slept with Sachs’ granddaughter.
I hope the references die down soon so we can remember Andrew for the joy and laughter he brought.
SETTING UP CAMP AT TAX OFFICE IS HARDLY A ROMANTIC WAY OF LIFE
I was amused to read about the ‘posh’ travellers who were evicted from tax office land in Cosham last week.
You could make a crass joke about swapping real horsepower for Bentley horsepower, but you simply can’t compare Romany gypsies with the type of people who squat on public land and leave it in an absolute state for other people to clear up.
These people were driving flash Bentleys and Mercedes, and in the pictures I’ve seen they had caravans bigger than some houses I’ve lived in.
It’s not a lifestyle I particularly understand, though those who know me will tell you I do appreciate a nice car and a bit of travelling.
But setting up camp at the tax office? It’s hardly a romantic nomad life, is it?