When Derron was seven years old, he developed a strange infection in his leg. Living in the UK with his family at the time, they had blood work done that revealed he had sickle cell disease. (This condition causes red blood cells to be malformed – instead of smooth and round to flow easily through blood vessels, they take on the pointy shape of sickles and get caught in joints and organs causing excruciatingly painful episodes.) This came as a shock as Derron had been living a healthy life up until that point.
In the summer of 2015, the family relocated to Calgary where Simon now serves as a family doctor. Derron was now under the care of the Hematology team at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. After a particularly painful crisis in the summer of 2016, the team approached OG and Simon about the possibility of pursuing a BMT to cure Derron of his condition. It sounded too good to be true! Their immediate response was “Let’s get this done!”
The search for a BMT match revealed that Derron’s younger sister, Arianne, was a 100% match to her brother. While Derron had some concerns about how painful the procedure would be, he was fed up with the pain and persistent nosebleeds he suffered as a result of sickle cell. Arianne was mature beyond her years going in to have her marrow harvested. She had seen firsthand the pain her big brother suffered and she knew she would be able to help him.
In August 2017, Derron had his BMT and has been pain-free ever since. Thanks to the expertise at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, he will live a healthy life, free of sickle cell. OG is grateful beyond words that her husband forced them to move to snowy, cold Calgary! This place saved her son’s life.
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