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8-Year-Old’s Bone Marrow Donation Cures His Siblings of Sickle Cell

September has been designated as National SIckle Cell Awareness Month. In recogntion of the disease that disproportionally affects African-Americans, we are revisiting articles that focus on the subject, such as this one from April 2019.

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Stefan Aihe of Orlando, Florida, now 8, donated his bone marrow to help save the lives of his older siblings who lived with sickle cell disease.

According to WESH 2 News, Stefan’s brother Kingsley, 22, and his sister, Vanessa, 12, were born with sickle cell disease, a deadly illness that affects the shape of the hemoglobin and results in decreased blood and oxygen levels throughout the body.

Sickle cell is an inherited form of anemia that mostly affects people of African descent. It can be treated, but bone marrow transplants are the only known cure and finding matching donors is a difficult task.

It was surprising to doctors that Stefan’s bone marrow was not only a match for both his brother and sister, but it also was able to cure them both of sickle cell.

Kingsley underwent his transplant from Stefan in November 2018, Vanessa received hers a few years earlier, and the older siblings are both now free of the disease.

Dr. David Shook spoke to the local news station about the shocking good news.

“It’s incredibly rare to have the same donor give to two different siblings,” the medical practitioner said. “It’s uncommon, but it’s not impossible.”

“I feel like God did it for us, so we were blessed,” the matriarch of the family said about gaining three healthy children in recent years.

The Aihe family would like the world to know that becoming a registered donor could immensely help someone living with sickle cell because of bone marrow transplants, which have a 95 percent success rate in these patients.

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