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Hartley family eternally grateful to life-saver bone marrow donors
FOUR Hampshire brothers are looking forward to the bliss of a Christmas together - ten years after learning they all had the same killer genetic condition
A decade ago David and Allison Hartley were told their four sons had a condition that could only be cured through bone marrow transplants.
Now after years of tests, operations, hospital stays and fundraising, they are set for the bliss of a normal family Christmas.
They also want to thank the people who rallied round, donated bone marrow and literally saved their boys’ lives.
David, 50, said: “This is the best case scenario when you look back ten years. We were told the boys would not make it through their teenage years without the transplants and now we are in the best place we could be after that horrible diagnosis.”
In 2003 the couple discovered that all four of their boys had the extremely rare X-linked Lymphoproliferative Syndrome.
The Hartleys, who live in Romsey, mounted a campaign to find matching donors for all four boys, which saw hundreds of Hampshire residents respond to their pleas in the Daily Echo to join the bone marrow register.
After five years and five operations they overcame the disease but spent more Christmases in hospital due to resulting health issues, particularly with eldest Joshua, 21, and youngest Luke, 13, needing two transplants.
David, a company director, said: “We had two Christmases at hospital in London and two in South-ampton and to be at home is the best present possible. They had their operations but the problems don’t stop and it’s been a battle over the years to get them in the best health.
“The feeling we get from all being together in our front room is very special and to know the boys have a good quality of life ahead of them is amazing.”
Luke, who missed 14 months of school, said: “I spent two Christmases in hospital and my first back with the family was quite strange but it feels so normal now and I’m so glad to be spending it with my family.”
Nathan, 20, and Daniel, 17, are at Portsmouth University and Brockenhurst College respectively, Luke is at Romsey School.
David said: “It’s unbelievable that so many people came forward and there are these mystery donors out there who quite literally saved my sons’ lives. Whoever they are, wherever they are we are eternally grateful.”
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