MORE than 1,000 people have put themselves forward as potential lifesavers after a stem cell drive was held in Hagley to try to find a donor for schoolboy Finley Hill.

The seven-year-old, who attends Hagley Primary School, is battling a rare immune system disorder known as familial HLH (familial hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis) - and he desperately needs a stem cell transplant to help save his life.

To help find a suitable donor - a stem cell drive was held at his primary school at the weekend where representatives from the charity DKMS took swabs of anyone wishing to sign up as a potential donor.

Lisa Nugent, head of donor recruitment at DKMS, said 1,153 swabs were taken on Saturday May 11 and Sunday May 12 and nearly £13,000 was raised for the charity.

She described the response of the community as "absolutely amazing" and said: "It's fantastic. I never cease to be amazed by the community spirit shown when there's a patient in need."

And she told the News: "It's now a case of getting them added to the register to see if they are a match for Finley or another patient in need of a transplant. It could be as early as six weeks that someone gets a phone call."

Finley's dad Paul Hill said he was both "amazed" and "shocked" at the response from the community at the weekend while mum Jo said: "It was brilliantly supported by everybody. It warms the cockles of your heart."

She added: "A lot of people - knowing they were outside of the 17-55 age group for a potential donor - came along and spent money on stuff to show their support. It had a real feel good factor."

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Finley, who has been battling the condition for two years, proved the "star of the show" she said - adding: "He loved it but it has taken it out of him a bit."

People can still make a donation to the charity if they wish online at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/FinnTheFabulous or go to the Finn the Fabulous Facebook page.

Anyone who was unable to attend but still wishes to sign up as a donor can request a swab kit from DKMS.

Or they can turn up to Stourbridge Rugby Club's Clash of the Titans Grasshoppers vs Greyhounds match on Friday May 17 at Stourton Park as representatives from DKMS will again be collecting swabs from anyone keen to register to become a donor.

Kick off is at 7pm but charity reps will be there from 5.30pm.