Lisa had noticed that her daughter was feeling a little more run down than usual last June. Thinking it might be related to all the extra excitement and activity associated with the end of the school year, she didn’t take it too seriously until her daughter was too tired to participate in her school play…something she’d been so excited about. A trip to the doctor resulted in some blood work followed by a phone call from her doctor later that night that Lisa will never forget. “Get to the Stollery right away. Alex is in bone marrow failure.” As a pediatric emergency nurse herself, Lisa could hardly believe she was rushing her daughter in to be cared for by her colleagues. It seemed unreal that the situation was this serious.
Alex was given life-saving transfusions right away and the quest began to determine what the cause for her condition was. After seven weeks, it was confirmed that she had a severe form of Aplastic Anemia. First course of action was to see if Immunosuppression Therapy would reboot her immune system, but after two and a half months and some severe side effects, the team came to the conclusion that a BMT would be Alex’s best chance at a cure and full health.
On August 25, the search began for a bone marrow match, and in early January the family received the news that one had been found. “It was exciting, yet terrifying,” says Lisa. “But a BMT gave us a goal…we knew we were going for a cure.”
On January 17, Alex had her transplant and miraculously, just nine days later, Dr. Guilcher gave them the happy news that the donor cells had taken up residence and were producing new blood cells in her body.
Lisa is so grateful for the advancements in BMT that have made not just treatment, but a CURE, possible for her daughter. When we started Radiothon 15 years ago, a story like this wasn’t even imaginable. The care and expertise they have benefited from at the Alberta Children’s Hospital have made this entire experience manageable for Alex and her family.
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