A mother in desperate need of a transplant fears the former partner who killed her teenage son has now stolen her only chance of survival.
Tania Morris, 49, was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma weeks after burying her only child, Nathan Bates.
The 19-year-old was bludgeoned to death with a hammer as he slept last year by his mother’s ex-partner Robert Goodwin, who then took his own life.
Miss Morris has been battling the disease for a year, but doctors have now told her that her last hope is a stem cell transplant.
Her rare tissue type means there is currently no one on the worldwide register who is a suitable match – and it seems her only hope of finding a donor would have been her beloved son.
Miss Morris’s mother Viv, 69, and father Robert, 70, are not suitable as they are too old and unwell, while her brother Darren was not a match. Her younger brother Adam died of a heart attack four years ago at the age of 41. Miss Morris and her family are making a plea for volunteers to sign up to the donor register, run by blood cancer charity The Anthony Nolan Trust.
Miss Morris said: ‘It’s heartbreaking. The doctors just keep saying we need a fit and healthy 19-year-old and that breaks my heart as that’s how old Nathan was when he was murdered. My younger brother could have been a match but he died of a heart attack.
‘My other brother Darren was devastated when he was tested and wasn’t a match. He wanted so much to help me. Dad’s only a half match. He’s too poorly himself to go ahead but... he could be a last resort.
‘They’re worried it would kill both me and him. We are just hoping someone comes forward. It’s my only chance of beating this.’
Goodwin was arrested and charged with assault after attacking Miss Morris, a pottery worker, at her home in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, in August last year.
But he was twice granted bail despite having breached conditions not to contact her.
Two months later – on the day he was due to appear in court to face the assault charge – he used a key to enter Miss Morris’s house and bludgeon Nathan to death.
He then killed himself in nearby allotments. Weeks later Miss Morris noticed her own health declining and, since her diagnosis in January this year, she has endured endless rounds of chemotherapy.
She said of her former partner: ‘He’s just a coward for what he did to Nathan.
‘He wouldn’t accept any responsibility for what he did. He wanted me to drop the charges, but I refused because I was scared he would do it to someone else.
‘He couldn’t cope with the thought of going to prison so he killed Nathan, killed himself and if I don’t find a donor, he may yet kill me.’
She added: ‘I haven’t properly grieved for Nathan because of the cancer. I can’t sleep any more. If I’m not thinking about the cancer, my thoughts turn to Nathan.’ Appealing for volunteers to join the donor register, she added: ‘It’s just a simple test you do in your home and send off. I’m not doing this just for me, but for everyone else who needs a donor. You never know, you could save someone’s life.’
Her mother Viv said: ‘After what we’ve been through we just want to find a match, otherwise this might be her last Christmas. We are desperate to find someone.’