A Donor Drive stall will be set up on Newton High Street to support a nine-year-old boy who is battling leukaemia. 

Alex Johnson, who was diagnosed in 2019 at the age of six, is due for a bone marrow transplant and has recently found a donor.

His need for a transplant follows a relapse after a period of chemotherapy.

Alex was soon diagnosed after his mum, Michelle Johnson, noticed a rash on his back after an Easter Holiday in Anglesey.

Michelle said: "When we came back, we noticed a rash on Alex’s back and we thought ‘oh, I wonder what that is’ and I remember driving to work that morning, shortly after we found the rash and thought something wasn’t right.

“It was really strange, in the pit of my stomach- something’s not right.”

Within 12 hours of spotting the rash, Alex was diagnosed with leukaemia.

St Helens Star: Alex and his mum MichelleAlex and his mum Michelle

Discussing his diagnosis, Michelle said: “I didn’t even know what leukaemia was. It was only just by chance when she mentioned that it’s a cancer that can be treated in children that the penny sort of dropped.”

“I remember the day after, when we had a meeting with the consultant, and he showed us a list of the symptoms. If I had a pen, I would’ve been ticking right through them, but when you look at those symptoms individually, you don’t assume it’s something bad.”

Alex, from Park Road, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, and underwent treatment. 

However, soon after his ninth birthday, his family was told he had relapsed, and the cancer had come back.

St Helens Star: Alex JohnsonAlex Johnson

Following the relapse, his family were informed that Alex would need a bone marrow transplant.

A donor has since been found for Alex and he is set to have the transplant this year. 

Michelle, a wedding florist, stressed the importance for people to become more aware of the symptoms of cancer.

“There’s a massive list of symptoms that people need to be aware of and had we known about these symptoms beforehand, then he might have been seen earlier and received earlier treatment.

“As a first-time parent at that point you think ‘am I overreacting, or do I trust my instinct?’ and that parent is their child’s voice. If you have a feeling that something is wrong, just go with that instinct.”

According to DKMS, a bone marrow donor centre, there are currently more than two million people in the UK registered as donors, however, this is less than three per cent of the UK population.

The mum-of-two is urging more people to register as it can potentially save lives.

She said: “It’s a fantastic thing to do for someone else. I’m just so grateful that we have a donor. There are so many children out there who don’t have a donor, which is why it’s so important that people get on the register.”

The  procedure involves donating blood that will later be transfused into the patient. 

The Donor Drive allows members of the public to register by doing an on-the-day cheek swab that will then be recorded into the database as a potential match for someone in need of a transplant.

The idea came about following Alexandra Myhill, owner of the Riddling Rack, who wished to support Michelle and her son.

Alexandra said: "As part of our road closure, we're partnering with DKMS. It'll be to get as many people registered as possible on the day."

The stall will be part of Newton High Street’s Jubilee street party on Saturday 4 June and will be located on Cobden Street, next to Riddling Rack. 

Alex and his mum will not be attending the event as Alex will be receiving treatment.