Stories of Hope | Page 6 | Aplastic Anemia and MDS International Foundation

Stories of Hope

To better understand the impact of bone marrow failure, we present stories told by the patients, parents, family members, and spouses who are living with these illnesses. Our entire community benefits from the insightful stories patients and family members share with us about their personal journeys.

AnnaLeigh

Cousin Helps Cousin

AnnaLeigh is a 5 year old little girl in our family. She has the most warming smile, joyful eyes, and a radiant shade of red hair. She is the typical 5 year old who dreams of princesses, lady bugs, and playing outside. AnnaLeigh and her parents live two hours from me since I moved to Charlotte, NC from Seneca, SC a few years ago. I keep up with her parents through Facebook and calls. I will never forget the day I learned through Facebook that my cousin Anna was sick. At this point they didn’t...

Peter Sonnentag

Peter Sonnentag, 5K Chair

I met my beautiful wife Claire, Dave’s stepdaughter, after graduating from the UW. In the years since, Claire and I have built a wonderful life and had two amazing children together.  I feel extremely lucky to have had Dave in my children’s lives as well as my own, if only for a few short years.  The impact he’s had on our family has been immeasurable.  I had never known someone so well regarded and loved by an entire community. I’ve been a Madison resident for the last decade, an avid...

Emma Pritchett

A Story of Hope

“Faith, hope and endurance are imperative to living a life full of possibilities with PNH,” says Emma Pritchett, who has lived with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria for 20 years. “The diagnosis was a shock because the disease is so rare.”  Emma and her husband Dennis, a scheduling manager for Carrier Transicold United Technologies, live in Watkinsville, Georgia.  They were married in 1993 and were eager to start their family.  They were elated when Emma became pregnant but soon noticed...

Jill Whitney

Since my diagnosis, my mission has been to fight back

My journey with MDS (myelodysplastic syndromes) began in December 2007 when a game of volleyball with my youngest daughter left my arms bruised from wrist to elbow. This along with frequent headaches and fatigue prompted me to schedule an appointment for a physical. Little did I know my life was about to change forever. We were getting ready to depart on a cruise to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico to celebrate my in-laws’ 50th anniversary; however, my hematologist wouldn't allow me to go until a bone...

Mary Jo Moss

Aplastic Anemia Patient Meets Physician Who Treated Her 30 Years Ago

For so long, I have been quietly racking up the years - 33 in all - since my diagnosis and transplant. I have done so well and had so few problems that I felt I had nothing to share. But as the years have gone by, I have begun to realize how few of us long-term survivors there are and how truly blessed I am to just be alive! By reading the comments when I post a milestone birthday, I am overwhelmed with the response from others who have walked this path, who are just beginning the journey, or...

Yajaira Suarez

Young Aplastic Anemia Patient Grateful That Life is Returning to Normal

My name is Yajaira and I am 24-years-old, and live in Victorville, California. It has been about two years since I was diagnosed with aplastic anemia. I was a very active, outdoor person who played sports. Never did I think in a million years this could ever happen to me, but it did. I had just started my new job where I met Teresa, my manager. After four months of working there, she noticed there was something different about me. My skin was pale and bruised. I would get sick constantly and...

Jordan Brown

Family’s Support Spurs Recovery

On July 4th, 2014, my 23-year-old son, Jordan, coming from the Washington DC suburbs, visited us (Barnett and Nelda Brown) in La Place, Louisiana. He wasn’t feeling well, so I convinced him to go to urgent care before leaving to return home. He was given antibiotics because he appeared to have three cysts in his left arm. He made a second trip to urgent care in Virginia to have the cysts lanced and was given a blood test during the procedure. On Monday July 14th, I received a call at 7 am...

Kimberly Woudenberg

Knowing What it Takes

“Walking into a chemotherapy room is not an easy thing to do, even if you know that it is the best thing for you.” I was diagnosed with PNH in 2009 at the age of twenty-two. In my eyes, I was invincible. I could even count how many times I had gotten sick throughout my life on one hand. So accepting the diagnosis was not easy. I was six months pregnant and pushed all of my worries and fears about my disease onto how it would affect my son. After months of constant anxiety and blood...

Shirley O’Brien

A Remarkable Response in a Clinical Trial

In February 2012, I was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a disease that has no cure except for a stem cell transplant. Because I was in my mid-70s, a bone marrow transplant wasn’t the best option. At the time of the diagnosis, my spouse, Jim, and I had been retired for eight years as professors from the University of Arizona, and we were enjoying busy lives performing at festivals, singing and accompanying ourselves on our digital accordions. We had planned a cruise in less than...

Rasha Iqbal

Transplant Experience Amplifies Her Desire for Research Career

My hands shivered as I carefully composed the flower on the nurse’s slim hands. “Are you nervous, sweetie?” she asked. I knew the tremors were not due to nervousness, but due to the effects of my medication, cyclosporine. Thankfully, I was still able to articulate the henna designs for my nurses at Duke University Hospital, where I was admitted for four long months. As a way of giving back to the staff, I thought of doing harmless, temporary tattoos for these inspiring people who took...