An 8-year-old boy in Florida is his family’s hero after donating his bone marrow to save the lives of his older brother and sister.
Stefan Aihe’s bone marrow donation was critical in helping cure his brother, Kingsley, 22, and his older sister, Vanessa, 13—both of whom were born with Sickle cell anemia, of the disease, reported WESH 2 News.
Sickle cell anemia, a blood disorder that most commonly affects African-Americans, Latinos from Central and South America, and others from Middle Eastern, Asian, Indian and Mediterranean backgrounds, is the result of a person having too little healthy red blood cells in order to carry oxygen throughout the body, according to The Mayo Clinic.
Kingsley, who underwent a bone marrow transplant in November, is now free of disease, his family said. “It’s kind of a bit of a miracle, in my opinion,” Kingsley told WESH 2 in an interview.
Vanessa’s transplant occurred several years earlier and she is also free of the condition.
“I feel like God did it for us, so we were blessed,” his mother added.
Stefan is happy that he could help his older siblings, according to his mom.
WESH 2 News reported that Dr. David Shook credits bone marrow transplants as the only cure for sickle cell disease, achieving success in 95 percent of all cases.
However, it remains tough for many patients in need of a bone marrow transplant to find a match—particularly so for Black bone marrow patients who often struggle to attract donors.
Dr. Shook said he was blown away that Stephan was a match for both of his siblings.
“It’s incredibly rare to have the same donor give to two different siblings. It’s uncommon, but it’s not impossible,” Shook told the news station.
Everyone should consider becoming a registered donor. Who knows, you just may save a life.