A 10-year-old Ballarat boy will spend up to six months in hospital waiting for his transplanted bone marrow to grow.
Football mad Blake Dridan enjoyed an active lifestyle playing with his sister Georgia, 12, until he was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder in November.
Mum Michelle Dridan said Blake was bruising very easily when doctors discovered he had severe aplastic anaemia. This means Blake’s bone marrow does not produce enough red cells, platelets or white cells.
Since his diagnosis Blake has endured two blood transfusions every week. Each transfusion increases the likelihood of Blake’s body rejecting the blood and a bone marrow transplant is the safest option. “With each transfusion there is more chance of rejection and Blake’s organs shutting down,” Mrs Dridan said.
Blake’s best option is to have a full bone marrow transplant – the problem is the number of people on the bone marrow donor list in Australia is extremely low.
Doctors have found a match in Germany and the bone marrow will be transported to Australia and inserted into Blake within a 72-hour period.
“We are urging more people to become donors, because it can make a huge difference to someone’s life. It is a relatively simple and non-invasive.”
Blake will undergo chemotherapy for 10 days before the procedure to “wipe out” all his existing bone barrow. He will be in isolation for six weeks. Blake will spend up to six months in hospital while his new bone marrow grows.
The last few months have been extremely challenging for the Dridan family who have watched Blake go from an active 10-year-old to a young boy unable to do much physical activity.
Added to the strain is the fact Blake’s dad Luke and Mrs Dridan will have to live in Melbourne for months, leaving Georgia in Ballarat during the initial months of her first year at secondary school. They have been supported by the North Ballarat Football Club and MaxiTrans.
Blake, who will be going into Grade 5 at St Columba’s School in the middle of the year is nervous about his operation. “(The support) makes me feel better. I am looking forward to being able to run around and go to school,” Blake said. A GoFundMe page has been established for Blake’s family, search for Blake’s recovery fund.