Bone Marrow Donor Search for 11-year-old Coventry Boy

 

Credit: ITV News

A desperate search for a bone marrow donor is being carried out for 11-year-old Coventry boy, Tako Ngambi.

Tako Ngambi was admitted to Walsgrave Hospital in July after feeling unwell. It was then revealed by doctors that Tako has a rare disease called aplastic anaemia. Since then, he’s been undergoing treatment at Birmingham Children’s Hospital but is in urgent need of a transplant.

With a bone marrow match yet to be found, doctors and nurses have been trying to lower his temperature; which has been exceeding the average of 37 degrees. Until a match is found, Tako cannot receive treatment for his condition. His father, Sam Ngambi has shared his family’s disbelief:

“Tako was a healthy 11-year-old and we never had any idea he had a bone marrow problem until June this year… he was healthy until all of a sudden he started to feel weak and he couldn’t finish a game of football.”

In support of the Ngambi’s, Maria Tracey, a friend of the family has set up a justgiving page. So far, she has exceeded her target of £1,000, and plans to use the money to “buy something nice for Tako”. Describing Tako as “friendly, happy and fun-loving”, Maria and football club Firefighter’s can’t wait for their “key player” to return back to the field.

I spoke with Maria Tracey, organizer of the justgiving page and upcoming fundraising event “Tako’s Party”.

How do you know Tako Ngambi?

Our son went to the same school as Tako (Eastern Green Primary School) and he also plays in the same Sunday League Football Team – Firefighters U12’s.

How has Tako’s illness affected the community?

Everyone was very shocked and saddened that such a lovely, happy and fit boy could become so poorly… he’s the last child we’d ever imagine falling ill. Tako was the heart and sole of the football team, full of energy.

What made you start the crowd-funding page?

After we arranged the fundraising event at the Massey Ferguson Club and advertised our fundraiser on a few other platforms, one or two people mentioned that they couldn’t make ‘Tako’s party’ but would like to contribute towards some kind of fund.

Were you surprised to surpass the amount you asked for (£1,000)?

To be honest, no, we always knew that the Eastern Green and Firefighters Football Club community were generous people. Many were aware of Tako’s situation and felt that they needed to come forward and donate.

How has Tako’s family reacted to the community’s support?

They have been amazed that so many people have sent them messages of support and contributed towards the fundraising events. When we finally present them with the donation on the evening of “Tako’s Party”, I’m sure they’ll understand how much they mean to the community.

Along with the crowd funding, you’re also organising the event ‘Tako’s Party’, what can people expect?

To go home much poorer!! We hope that everyone comes and will continue to give generously. There will be a cupcake sale and a raffle with many many prizes that have been given from numerous organisations including AVFC, CCFC and Wasps.

Has there been any other ways for the community to get involved/to help?

Yes, there have been a few other events that have taken place. The local butchers in Eastern Green, Paul Mac Quality Butchers opened on Sunday the 12th of November (this being his day off). All funds raised were given to Tako’s total fund – over £1000 was raised on the day.

Local boy, Euan Hill  will be running 8k during November and has also set up another Just Giving page to raise money. So we’ll all be supporting him! And Ravi Nakri, a swimming instructor at the Xcel Centre has decided to do a sponsored Water Polo match. All of the players from the Firefighters U12’s football team and a few other children will take part in this match to raise more funds – it’s expected to be wet and wild!

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Closing the interview with a positive note, Maria Tracey revealed that a “match has been found for Tako” and “if all goes well, it will be the start of Tako’s journey on his road to recovery.”

Update 10/04/2017:

After communicating with Maria, she revealed that “Tako’s Party” was a huge success:

“It was a really great night. I sold all 250 tickets in a couple of days… and raised £8400 for Tako’s family. They were totally overwhelmed. Unfortunately the doctors wouldn’t allow Tako out of the hospital for it… as although he is more stable, he still has a very high temperature.”
Tako’s story emphasises the importance of community, and it’s touching to see how everyone has come together to support the Ngambi family. Here at iCov, we can only hope that he gets better soon!

 

Monique Boreland

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