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Reay primary in class of its own after helping former pupil's fund-raising appeal

By Gordon Calder

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YOUNGSTERS from Reay primary school are in a class of their own after helping a former pupil's fund-raising appeal.

The children held a baking and bric-a-brac sale to help 13-year-old Arran Macleod who plans to raise £6000 to recruit 150 new potential donors to the Anthony Nolan stem cell register.

Arran has to undergo a second life-saving transplant operation in Glasgow to try to cure a rare genetic condition. He and his older brother Euan, who is 16, have a condition called Chronic Granulomatous Disorder (CGD) which means their white blood cells have a fault which prevents them fighting infections properly.

Although it is genetic, there is no history of the condition on either side of the family. The only cure is a bone marrow transplant. CGD affects between just 250 and 280 people in the UK.

Arran found out last year that he will need another stem cell transplant but, fortunately, the Anthony Nolan Trust which maintains a bone marrow register and matches patients and donors, has found a suitable donor for him and he is scheduled to get his operation later this year.

He feels really lucky to have a donor and is determined to make something positive come out of his illness so he launched the appeal to try to encourage more people to sign the register to try and assist others. The £6000 is to cover the costs of processing the 150 new DNA samples.

The pupils at Reay were keen to help him and raised £300 by their efforts, taking Arran's total so far to £3748. They presented him with the money and a special card with messages of support from pupils and staff.

Arran Macleod with the card presented to him by the pupils at Reay primary school. The youngsters raised £300 for Arran's fund-rasing appeal.
Arran Macleod with the card presented to him by the pupils at Reay primary school. The youngsters raised £300 for Arran's fund-rasing appeal.

The teenager is delighted with their kind gesture as his mother, Janet, explained. She said: "Although Arran is now in second year at Thurso High School, he used to attend Reay Primary School and a lot of the kids know him so they wanted to do something to help him with his fundraising and support him in his appeal for Anthony Nolan. They raised £300, which is a huge amount for a small school.

"He was very touched, both by the fact that his former school had tried so hard to help him raise money and by all the messages of support. He's keeping the card safely tucked away to look at again later – hopefully it will help to give him a boost when things are tough."

Janet, who lives with the boys and husband, Calum at Upper Dounreay, added: "Arran is hopeful we'll at least reach the £6000 and if we can raise a bit more that would be a fantastic bonus. We're in the process of trying to get a couple of other events organised."

As previously reported, Euan has stabilised after his transplant but is on medication which has caused him medical and mobility problems.

He will have to be monitored for the rest of his life, although the doctors think his donor cells will stay at a reasonable level.

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