September 23, 2022 By Vaseline

Watch Sunderland mum emotionally plead for a kidney donor to save her six-year-old son’s life

Joseph was a happy and healthy toddler until a week before his third birthday, when Rebecca Archer, 28, noticed he had become very lethargic — “often falling asleep on the sofa” — and began complaining of pain in his legs.

Doctors initially thought it was a possible infection, and Joseph was given a course of antibiotics. Two weeks later, however, Joseph collapsed and was taken to Newcastle RVI, where he was diagnosed with stage 5 Wilms’ tumors, a type of kidney cancer that had spread to the spleen, liver, diaphragm and lungs.

Surgeons operated on to remove one of his kidneys and partially remove his second kidney, which was also riddled with tumors. Brave Joseph then faced months of grueling chemotherapy – the intensity of which doctors said gave him only a “50/50 chance of surviving” – along with a further seven surgeries.

Against all odds, including fighting off sepsis six times, in December 2020, Joseph and Rebecca received the news that he was cancer-free.

Unfortunately for Joseph, his ordeal did not end there. What was left of his one kidney initially functioned at 40 percent, but three months ago the family were told that that had halved to just 20 percent and that Joseph’s only chance of survival was a transplant.

Rebecca said: “Right now Joseph only has a quarter kidney and the only way for him to survive is to find a donor. The doctors at RVI’s kidney department have told me that his kidney will eventually fail completely – we just don’t know when.

“They also said that dialysis is risky at the moment because of the possibility of an infection that Joseph would be fighting.”

Joseph Archer, six, mother Rebecca Archer, 28, and sister Amy Archer, 10.

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While the Plains Farm Academy student has now been added to the transplant registry, Rebecca has started her own appeal on Facebook for people to reach out and get tested to see if a suitable mate can be found.

The NHS website highlights that “almost everyone has two kidneys but can lead a normal, healthy life with just one” and family and friends have been tested but no match has been found so far.

Rebecca, who lives at Plains Farm, said: “Joseph suffers from a lot of stomach aches and is always tired. While I am always aware that the cancer could return, a new kidney would allow him to be a happy and healthy little boy.

Joseph Archer, six, with sister Amy Archer, 10. Amy wants a donor to come forward so Joseph can “live a normal life like any other little boy.”

“It would mean the world to me if someone could help by reaching out to get tested. Even by sharing my Facebook message, people would help save my little boy’s life.”

It was a message, echoed by Joseph’s sister Amy Archer, 10, who added: “Please come forward and get tested so my little brother has a chance to live a normal life like any other little one Young.”

Joseph’s school, Plains Farm Academy, has also gotten involved, promoting the appeal on their social media, contacting the Echo and even offering to open the school as a testing facility for a special day in hopes of finding a matching donor Find .

Principal Lesley Cassidy said: “As a school we have followed Joseph’s journey and we want to continue to offer our support. This is a matter that is very close to our hearts.

Joseph Archer, six, reads a book in the school library with Sister Amy, 10.

“My big hope, of course, is that Joseph gets a match, but that people don’t choose not to be organ donors either, which could help save other children’s lives.”

Rebecca said she was told the ideal donor should be over the age of 30 and for women, those who no longer intend to have more children. Anyone who feels they can help should contact Rebecca on her Facebook page or through the school by phone on (0191) 520 3109 or email [email protected]

Potential donors will then be put in touch with Joseph’s nurse, who will arrange for that person to be tested at the “closest possible location”.

Joseph, not fully understanding the gravity of his predicament, simply added, “Please come and help me get better.”

Joseph Archer, six, with his classmates and big sister Amy in the school library.
Joseph Archer with Plains Farm Academy Principal Lesley Cassidy.