Before AnnaLeigh got sick, she was a happy, energetic and healthy 4 year old with a huge imagination.
Then she got sick. Severe Aplastic Anemia.
It only took about 2 days to diagnose what was wrong with her, but that was just the beginning.
The first form of treatment was H-ATG with cyclosporine, to which she didn’t respond well to at all. It actually caused serum sickness and ended up being in the hospital for 250 days the first year. Her day-to-day life went from being a playful energetic little girl to laying in hospital beds, having leg cramps, mood swings, plus she couldn’t go anywhere in public. Basically, all the stuff she did before was no longer an option.
After we found out H-ATG wasn’t going to work, we moved on to our only other option, bone marrow transplant. We searched the national registry, Be the Match, with no matches found. The only other option was a half match transplant from her mom. The odds were only 30% it would work and only 1 year to live if it didn’t.
We had no other choice but to try it.
30 days later and multiple rounds of chemo, full body irradiation and a half match bone marrow transplant we are out of the hospital to NEVER be admitted again!!! Today AnnaLeigh is 12 years old, on honor roll in school, catcher for her fast pitch softball team and off all medications. Other than a few scars from surgeries, you would never know she was so sick.
If you or your family or friends are going through what my daughter and I went through, just know that there is hope! Stay strong, stay positive, and hang on because it is a roller coaster. In the end though, you CAN beat this!
And finally, please note: AnnaLeigh was at the cutting edge of doing half-match transplants. Hers was the first one performed in South Carolina. Now today in South Carolina alone, they do 6-10 half match transplants a year!