ROMSEY'S amazing Hartley family are bracing themselves for the final transplant in their four sons' battle against a life-threatening condition - and are still finding the time to raise money for other people.
Parents David and Allison will be taking their youngest son Luke to London's Great Ormond Street Hospital next week.
On Thursday, he will be having the bone marrow transplant needed to overcome the rare genetic condition known as x-linked lymphoproliferative syndrome (XLP).
His brothers Joshua, 15, Nathan, 13, and Daniel, 11, have already had their transplants and Luke's is the final one of the four.
It will mark the end of another phase in the family's brave fight against the disease, which started almost three years ago when Joshua had his transplant in June 2004, eight months after the boys had been diagnosed with the condition. Daniel's transplant was in November 2004 and Nathan's was roughly a year later And as Luke prepared for the transplant, his father said: "He is extremely well at the moment but we know that XLP is a ticking time bomb and so we have to go through with this.
"His elder brother will (Nathan) will be his donor so it will be another interesting tale to tell as we walk through the valley'."
Nathan stepped in earlier this year after a previously arranged donor became unavailable and Mr Hartley said at the time: "The consultants at GOSH are not worried' by this and have already carried a number of piggy back' bone marrow transplants.
"Nathan is delighted that he will have the chance to save the life of his brother."
Meanwhile, Joshua is battling on bravely despite some setbacks, the latest being a bout of shingles - so bravely that he is now embarking on a couple of early GCSE exams.
But the family are still finding the time to continue with their fund-raising efforts to help other people avoid the transplant trauma.
In September 2005, they launched the XLP Research Trust to help provide funds for research into finding a genetic cure for XLP.
And fundraising for that registered charity was continuing this week with appeals for support for two more events.
The charity has three spaces left for the British 10k London Run on Sunday, July 1. Details are on the internet at www.thebritish10klondon.co.uk/ with a donation of £30, which covers admission charges and a special XLP RT t-shirt.
The second event in the pipeline is one for those who prefer something completely different to running - freefall parachute jumping.
People can jump from any one of 25 centres across the UK and information packs can be obtained through www.xlpresearchtrust.org/parachute.asp The Hartleys know they have walked the transplant trail and the research will not be to help them, but to help others.
But Mr Hartley summed up: "We have walked that valley and if we can save others from having to walk it, that makes it all worthwhile."
l The XLP Research Trust has been on the receiving end of a generous grant from a Freemasons' Lodge in Southampton.
Bevis Lodge, which meets in Albion Place, near the rear of the former Owen Owen department store, has presented the Trust with £1,000.
The cheque was handed over by David Woodhouse, who lives in Romsey and has had a close-up view of the efforts the Trust is making to raise funds.
Having been the year's Master of the Lodge, he explained: "While I was in the chair it was the annual ladies' night and the Master of the Lodge gets to choose the charity to which the proceeds are donated.
"I had been to one or two of the Trust's functions and saw how hard they are working."
Half of the £1,000 came from the ladies' night and the other half from the lodge's benevolent fund.
* Details of the trust's fundraising events can be found at www.xlpresearchtrust.org