Antrim boy finds his 'superhero' as stem cell donor match confirmed

Olcán Wilkes made an appeal on UTV in December for the public to sign up to the stem cell register. Credit: Family photo

A County Antrim boy who made an appeal on UTV for the public to sign up to the stem cell register, has finally found his match.

Olcán Wilkes was diagnosed with a two-in-a-million condition called aplastic anemia in September 2021.

The illness left the seven-year-old dependent on weekly platelet transfusions and twice-monthly blood transfusions.

Susceptible to infection and bleeding, Olcán was forced to stop running, swimming and playing to avoid a potentially life-threatening scenario.

After searching the global registrar in October, no matches were found.

Desperate to find his 'superhero', Olcán made an appeal to the public to sign up to the Stem Cell Register in the hope he'd find his match.

Just weeks later, not one, but two matches were confirmed.

Olcán was diagnosed with an extremely rare condition called aplastic anemia in September 2021. Credit: Family photo

Mum Genevieve told UTV: "Somebody somewhere has only just signed up to the register and they got that phone call, what an amazing thing.

"We had people coming up to us in the street, telling us that they'd signed up, they saw (him) on the news. He's been recognised in places."

Manchester United footballer got in touch to congratulate Olcán on finding his donor match.

While the two matches don't live in the UK, more than 400 people signed up to the stem cell register in the Belfast area after watching Olcán's story.

"To have that much community support was just overwhelming. We obviously had people who knew in our immediate circle that were signing up and spreading the word but these are people that don't know us and I think that's an incredible thing to do, it's so selfless."

The Wilkes family are moving to England for the treatment, which will begin in March.

Once he's fully recovered, Olcán said the first thing he wants to do is to go to a waterpark.

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