A SUNSHINE Bay family is now preparing to spend the next four to six months near Westmead Hospital after a date was set for their son’s bone marrow transplant.
Chris Murdock, 21, has a rare blood disorder known as HLH, which affects his white blood cell count.
For the past seven months he has been undergoing chemotherapy treatment, after the disorder struck him for a third time last year.
The Bay Post/Moruya Examiner spoke to Chris and his parents – Lucy and Ray – last month about the disorder, which usually affects children or the elderly.
As Ms Murdock explained, when an average person is ill, their white blood cells fight the infection and then go back to their normal count.
However in Chris’s case, “the white cells don’t shut off” and start attacking his good organs, including his spleen, liver and skin.
The family had been waiting on a date for a bone marrow transplant to be set, which they hope will ultimately cure Chris’s disorder.
This week they said the transplant would go ahead on March 7 at Westmead Hospital.
The bone marrow donor is Chris’s sister, Emma, who has had to sell her business to help her brother.
It is hoped the transplant will be a cure, but this will only happen if the disorder is viral, and not genetic.
“Because his sister doesn’t suffer from the same illness, we’re hoping her bone marrow will stop him being susceptible to it,” Ray Murdock said.
“If it’s a viral thing, her bone marrow will hopefully cure what he’s got.”
However, if the cause is found to be genetic, they will have to find another donor.
The transplant will involve drilling into Emma’s hips to extract bone marrow, and then placing it in Chris’s hip bones.
Mrs Murdock said the family would move to a place near Westmead Hospital, as Chris will need to remain close by for the next four to six months, after spending the first five weeks of recovery in hospital.
She also said friends and relatives were forming a committee to organise a fundraiser to be held in May or June.