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Teen battling rare disease

rhondathompson, [email protected]

Teen battling rare disease

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A YOUNG FOOTBALLER continues to seek help in his fight against a rare blood disease.
Joshua Sobers-Henry and his immediate family are asking for financial assistance as the teenaged goalkeeper looks to head to the United States later this week for stem cell treatment in his battle with aplastic anaemia.
News of Sobers-Henry’s rare condition broke on the Barbados Soccer Academy’s Facebook page as his family and club members continue to appeal to the public for blood donations and monetary assistance.
“He has an appointment for Monday in Washington at the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, where he starts stem-cell treatment for six months so we need as much help as we can get,” explained Sobers-Henry’s mother Carolann in an interview with MIDWEEK?SPORT yesterday.
“And even then it all depends on how the body reacts to the treatment because if it doesn’t [respond positively] then we have to look at doing a bone marrow transplant.”
Aplastic Anaemia is an extremely rare blood disorder in which the body’s bone marrow doesn’t make enough new blood cells and if left untreated, has a high risk of death.
At present, Sobers-Henry receives blood transfusions at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, but his blood type – AB positive – is not as common as others and isn’t always available.
But those transfusions are just temporary as he needs to start stem cell treatment as soon as possible if he is to successfully overcome the disease.
The situation unfolded last November when Sobers-Henry inexplicably started to get regular headaches after playing for both Coleridge and Parry and the St Lucy constituency side.
At first it was thought to be just the flu, but later tests showed positive for the rare blood disorder after his eyes, tongue and finger tips all turned white one day.
“I just try to be positive every day and believe the best will happen but right now I really miss football,” said the 16-year-old custodian.
“But my teammates and family have really kept me upbeat and have been pushing to get me some help.”
Blood donations can be made at the National Blood Collecting Centre in Ladymeade Gardens while the family has opened an account at the City of Bridgetown Credit Union. (JM)