Sam’s stem cell treatment - can you help Ballymena boy?

Sam Kerr (with permission)
Sam Kerr (with permission)

The family of a severely autistic little boy from Ballykeel hope that specialist treatment in the United States could help him achieve a better quality of life.

Sam McKay, 6, struggles with extreme learning disabilities. Unfortunately this means his communication is little to none and, for his family, it is a daily struggle to figure out what he wants because he is unable to speak.

Now Sam’s sister Kirsten has begun a fund-raising campaign with the hope that this could help send Sam for treatement in America.

Kirsten explains: “Sam is an extremely energetic and mischevious 6 year oldboy, he loves car rides and cartoons. But he is also severely autistic and can only eat certain foods and specific drinks at set times every single day.

“He also refuses to eat outside of his own home meaning someone always needs to be there to provide him with his meals. Because of Sam’s disabilities his mental age is that of a baby and his awareness of danger is zero. The house has to be constantly locked even when we are inside to stop him from running out into the street, locks have been put on the outside of most bedrooms as Sam is quite strong and causes damage to a lot of property during fits of rage or when he is extremely sensory.

“Once before Sam severly injured himself and because he wasnt able to speak he screamed for hours straight and it killed us because we didnt know what was wrong with him, he couldnt cope in the hospital and had to be put to sleep for treatment.

“Recently my mother was contacted and told that Sam was selected to receive stem cell treatment but it was not covered by the NHS because the procedure is carried out in America.

“This treatment has had over an 82% success rating and works by replacing the damaged stem cells with ones donated by healthy umbilical cords or bone marrow.

Because of the high success rating there is a high chance that this treatment can improve sams communication, and hopefully one day allowing him to speak to his family like every child should be able to do.”

If you would like to help, see Kirtsen’s ‘Go Fund Me’ page at