FIVE-YEAR-OLD Edward Sherwood is getting a priceless late Christmas present from his brother — the gift of life.

Earlier this year the primary school pupil developed the bone marrow disease aplastic anemia.

The condition means Edward’s bone marrow does not produce enough red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets for his body.

But his nine-year-old brother Robert is a match to be a bone marrow donor — and an operation is due to take place early next month.

Edward’s mother Susan Sherwood, 31, of Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, said the condition was diagnosed after her son started getting bruises in the summer.

Mrs Sherwood said: “The operation was due to take place on Christmas Eve but it is now expected to take place on January 7.

“We don’t know why Edward has got aplastic anemia — sometimes a virus can trigger it. But the bone marrow transplant could save his life, which would be the best Christmas present ever for our family.

“Robert will have an operation on his hip to take a litre of bone marrow and it will then be given in a drip to Edward.

“The procedure will take an hour and Edward, who also needs to have chemotherapy, will be in isolation for eight weeks afterwards.”

Robert said: “I am looking forward to helping my brother — I don’t feel too scared.”

Mrs Sherwood, who lives with her husband Kelly, 32, a recruitment consultant, and their five children in Greenmere, said Robert and his six-year-old brother Daniel were both tested to see if they could be donors. She added: “In these circumstances, siblings are tested first and Robert was a full match. Edward was diagnosed at Oxford Children’s Hospital in July and the procedure is being carried out at Bristol Children’s Hospital which has a bone marrow transplant ward and unit.

“What is happening makes me feel very proud but I am anxious at the same time because two of my boys are undergoing operations.

“Edward started going to the local primary school but now he is being taught at home. He still wants to play and fight with his brothers but we have to be careful because he gets bruised easily.

“Robert stood up and told everyone in his class what he was going to do and some of the teachers were in tears.”

Mrs Sherwood said Robert was interviewed by representatives from the Human Tissue Authority to ensure that he was willing to undergo the operation and was not being pressurised by his family to be a donor.

She added: “Robert is a bit nervous and apprehensive because of all the tests. He understands that giving the bone marrow could save Edward’s life.

“It’s the best Christmas present Edward could ever have and he could make a full recovery eventually.

“After the operation, he will be on drugs for a number of years to make sure the bone marrow is not rejected.

“A lot of Edward’s care has been dealt with by staff at Oxford Children’s Hospital and I want to thank the play specialists on Kamran’s Ward who have been fantastic.”

Mr and Mrs Sherwood have five children: Simon, four months, Niamh, 17 months, Edward, Daniel, and Robert.

Sarah Vaccari, a spokesman for Oxford Children’s Hospital, said: “It is lovely to hear how much children and parents appreciate the staff and facilities at the children’s hospital.

“We would all like to wish Edward and Robert every success with the forthcoming operation and thank the family for their support.”