A DESPERATE Newport family is urging people to become bone marrow donors after a six-year-old boy was diagnosed with a rare blood disease.

Marley Nicholls was diagnosed aplastic anaemia after weeks of tests due to feeling unwell and having a high temperature.

Aplastic anaemia stops the body from producing enough blood cells and doctors fear that without a bone marrow transplant the disease will prove fatal for Marley.

The National:

Jennifer Turner, Marley’s aunt who spoke on behalf of parents Shaney and Joe, said: “It was absolutely devastating.

“The family are devastated. It’s the type of thing you don’t expect to happen to your own family.

“So now they are doing everything they can to make sure they find a donor.”

The St Julian’s Primary School student spent two weeks having his blood taken while doctors struggled to find a cause.

The Royal Gwent Hospital initially thought that Marley had leukaemia.

But on July 23, 2018, he was diagnosed with aplastic anaemia following bone marrow analysis.

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Shaney and Joe were shattered further when Marley's four-year-old brother and best chance of donor, George, was not a match.

In a Facebook post on the group Marrow for Marley, which was set up to raise awareness and encourage people to become bone marrow donors, Shaney pleaded the public: “We are just an everyday family who really needs some help.

“We need as many people as we possibly can to sign up to the Bone Marrow Register so if you are between 17 and 31 I am begging you.

“PLEASE help us and PLEASE go and sign up.

“We are desperately looking for a donor. Even if this is not for you, or you are over 31 please PLEASE share this post because we are so hopeful that somebody out there will help us.

“It could literally save his life.

“Marley deserves a future just like any other six-year-old.

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“We never in a million years thought this would happen to us but it has and I'm just a mum trying to do my absolute best for my little boy. Please, please help us.”

Ms Turner added: “Shaney and Joe don’t want to focus on how long he has but want to raise awareness and channel everything into finding a donor.”

Marley’s parents are using the group to encourage potential donors to sign up to Anthony Nolan, a charity that works in stem cell transplantation.

They are appealing to people aged 17 to 30, as they are more likely to be a match.

If you’d like to sign up, there is an event at The Beaufort Centre in St Julians on Sunday, August 19, between 11am and 4pm to register as a bone marrow donor and have a your mouth swabbed.

Supporters have also set Marrow for Marley’s logo, which is a blood droplet and has the hashtag #M4M on it, as their profile photo on Facebook, to help spread the cause.

Click here to sign up as a donor on Anthony Nolan’s website.