Jacob's good deed to help save lives

A kind-hearted youngster, who was supported by the Louth community when he suffered a life-threatening illness as a baby, has now made a full recovery - and has given something back to the town.

Jacob with the Mayor of Louth, Coun George Horton,  and the Mayors Serjeant Glenn Darnell.
Jacob with the Mayor of Louth, Coun George Horton, and the Mayors Serjeant Glenn Darnell.

Jacob Giles, 9, took part in Louth Run For Life on Sunday (June 24) and helped to raise money for Cancer Research UK while also raising awareness about the importance of blood donations and bone marrow donations - just like the one that saved his life when he was just a toddler.

When Jacob was just a few months old he was diagnosed with Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, a serious disorder of the immune system that leads to infections, low numbers of blood platelet cells, and eczema. He spent three months in Great Ormond Street Hospital as doctors worked hard to manage his condition.

But Jacob’s illness meant that, unless a suitable bone marrow transplant could be found, his life would be cut tragically short.

Jacob Giles celebrates after completing Louth Run For Life.

Thankfully, a matching donor was found and Jacob underwent a life-saving transplant in February 2010.

But a number of ongoing complications from this procedure continued to blight his life until just 18 months ago, when he finally made a full recovery.

As reported in the Leader at the time of Jacob’s diagnosis, the youngster received strong support from local businesses that raised funds to support him and his family at that difficult time, with surplus donations going to the Anthony Nolan Trust and Great Ormond Street Hospital.

On Sunday morning, Jacob’s sterling efforts at Louth Run For Life gave him the opportunity to give something back to the town as he whizzed round the children’s race course in just under five minutes.

Jacob Giles with his medal after Louth Run For Life.

Jacob received around £400 in sponsorship, and raised vital awareness about the importance of blood and bone marrow donations for those suffering potentially life-threatening illness, including those receiving treatment for cancer.

Jacob’s mum, Victoria, said: “I am absolutely inspired by Jacob. This is the first fundraiser he’s done, but I think he’s got the bug for it now!

“He’s received lots of support, it has been absolutely amazing.

“Our thanks also goes to the Mayor of Louth, Councillor George Horton, who has supported Jacob from the start.

“Jacob just wants to encourage people to donate blood and bone marrow, because it’s so important.

“It saves so many lives - for many people, it is literally a case of life or death.”

• To give blood, visit www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 1232323, and to become a bone marrow donor visit www.anthonynolan.org.