If you met JJ today, you’d never imagine he’s been anything but a typical active little boy. But his first year was anything but typical. Soon after he was born, JJ was diagnosed with severe congenital neutropenia. Hospitalized frequently with weekly blood work and increasing dosages of Neupogen, doctors urged his parents to consider transplant.
Because of JJ’s mixed ethnicity, his parents were told it might take a while to find his donor match. Danielle hosted an event to encourage more people to join the Be The Match Registry®. Amazingly, they received a call about a month later that his match had been found.
JJ’s transplant went so well that he was discharged after just seven weeks, rather than the expected 8-10 weeks. A grant from Be The Match® helped cover some of the family’s expenses like transportation to and from the hospital, meals, and parking.
When asked what he wants to be when he grows up, JJ replies, “I want to be a policeman like Uncle Ryan.” But that answer changes. And for a healthy active three-year-old, that’s definitely typical.
Liz is a medical student at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Just a few years ago she was a bone marrow transplant recipient.
Her illnesses began when she was just a month old and spent four days in the hospital. That was only the beginning of many illnesses through the years. After many illnesses and life threatening experiences throughout childhood and young adulthood – her doctor recommended a specialist in Cincinnati. Her Immunologist at Cincinnati Children’s recommended a bone marrow transplant.
So began her journey with Be The Match® searching for her life-saving donor. Of 10 good matches, one was a perfect match - a 26-year-old man. She received his cells in January 2014. Her new “birthday” coincided with her sister’s birthday so her family made the infusion a celebration day and all wore Red Wing shirts. Her family and friends at home wore their Red Wing Shirts and posted their pictures online in support. Liz was out of the hospital in 12 days!
Liz was married on May 24, 2014 and a year later was working. Just two years later she was able to apply to med school!
According to Liz, “My hero is Alejandro from Germany! We are now family and forever connected. Be The Match is a lifesaving organization and I wouldn’t be here without this organization.”