GLADDY GOOD NEWS: Brother's stem cells offer Kelvin hope
AT JUST four and a half years old, Kelvin Robb suffers from quadriplegic spastic cerebral palsy, dystonia, visual impairment and epilepsy.
Now intensive stem cell therapy offers hope that Kelvin will be able to live as independently as possible after cells from his newborn brother MacKenzie proved to be a 100 per cent match.
Mum Janie Sharpe said she hoped the therapies would lead to improvements in Kelvin's ability to communicate, which she believes is key to a better quality of life.
"The example I use for people is Stephen Hawking," Mrs Sharpe said.
"He can do nothing physically but because he can communicate via technology, he can get everything out.
"Kelvin's not a genius, he's just an average boy; intellectually he's the same as any other four-and-a-half-year-old.
"He's just stuck in a body that doesn't do what he needs it to do, which gets frustrating for all of us."
Mrs Sharpe is optimistic for a good outcome.
"We have to be realistic with stem cells; nobody has gone from being severely disable to being suddenly cured," she said.
"If it gives a bit of improvement then it will be worth it.
"We found a company called Cell Care and contacted them to explain about Kelvin having cerebral palsy and wanting to store stem cells for future possibilities.
"They emailed back saying they were doing a study and were storing sibling's cord blood for free... they were waiting for all the red tape but now they've started the trial now.
"So Kelvin, MacKenzie and I will go down to Melbourne, and Kelvin will have three days of tests."
If the tests go well, Kelvin will have MacKenzie's stem cells infused in February, in a process similar to a blood transfusion.
The stem cells will help repair damaged body parts - in Kelvin's case, his brain - then intensive therapy will be needed.
The trials for Kelvin's treatment cover airfares for himself and one adult.
Qantas has offered to cover flights for the rest of the family who often use the airline to access therapy in Brisbane.
The family will need to raise funds to pay for the expensive intensive therapies post treatment.
A sausage sizzle will be run at Bunnings by the Lions Club from 8am-4pm today to raise funds for Kelvin's family. To find out more go to Kelvin's Krusade on Facebook.