Archie relied on transfusions for 10 years
In December 2019, Archie Ramshaw celebrated a year without a blood transfusion.
It's a huge milestone for the 16 year old who had blood transfusions every 3 weeks for a decade to stay alive.
Archie has congenital sideroblastic anaemia, which means his bone marrow is unable to produce healthy blood cells.
Blood transfusions were the only option until other treatment was found.
In that time, it’s estimated that Archie received more than 500 bags of blood.
However, after a bone marrow transplant in 2018, Archie stopped having transfusions and is finally able to move on with his life.
10 years of blood transfusions
Although blood transfusions kept Archie alive, the amount of blood required on such a frequent basis meant his body slowly became overloaded with iron.
His spleen became enlarged and was at risk of rupture and so it was removed in 2016. Archie became so weak he had to rely on a wheelchair at times.
Archie’s iron levels continued to rise, and he eventually developed stage 4 liver cirrhosis. He had to have a round-the-clock syringe driver to secrete the iron from his organs.
Archie’s quality of life took a huge nose dive - he lost his self-confidence and severe depression set in.
Archie has taught us that no matter how hard life can get, if you fight hard enough you can win the fight.
Craig Ramshaw, Archie's dad
The difference a year can make
All this changed in September 2018 when he had a bone marrow transplant. The transplant was successful, but Archie didn’t respond well to his immunosuppressants and he began the daily struggles of fatigue, vomiting and lack of appetite.
For six months Archie had successive viruses and his weight dropped to less than six stone. Archie had a blood transfusion on Christmas Eve and was taken home for respite.
Christmas was a real struggle for the family as Archie’s dad Craig explains: “Things weren’t looking good and we were prepared to make the most of an undefined amount of time we had.”
Archie was very unwell on Christmas Day and he was back in hospital the next day.
By New Year’s Eve, under blue lights, Archie was taken a specialist children’s hospital in London, where he stayed until his discharge in March 2019.
Craig continues: “Archie has gone from strength to strength. He’s made us incredibly proud.
“Archie has taught us that no matter how hard life can get, if you fight hard enough you can sometimes be the one who can win the fight and move on.”
Archie is now studying animal health care full-time at college. He volunteers at a local petting farm and is working with local gamekeepers to improve his understanding of animal management.
The transformation from the little boy who missed out on so much school and could sometimes hardly walk is unrecognisable.
While this is a hugely positive moment in Archie’s life, his health battle continues. Instead of receiving blood every 3 weeks, Archie will soon start the process of ‘dumping’ blood every 3 weeks until his iron levels are normal. It is hoped this will help his organs and body to continue to heal.
The journey continues for Archie, but there are many others like him who are just getting started.
Please register as a blood donor and book an appointment to donate.