An eight-year-old boy in Florida became the saving grace for his older siblings who were suffering from sickle cell disease after he became a bone marrow donor.
Stefan Aihe, who lives in central Florida with his family, made headlines recently after accomplishing something very unusual, reports WESH 2 News.
Stefan has only two siblings; 22-year-old big brother, Kingsley, and his sister, 13-year-old Vanessa. Both Kingsley and Vanessa had sickle cell disease, a life-threatening condition in which, according to Mayo Clinic, “there aren't enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen throughout your body.”
"It's incredibly rare to have the same donor give to two different siblings"
More popular symptoms of sickle cell disease include severe pain, painful swelling of hands and feet, frequent infections, and delayed growth.
It is this condition that Stefan’s siblings endured for years before doctors discovered he was a matching donor for both of them.
Screenshot of Kingsley Aihe, Stefan’s brother. |Photo: YouTube/WESH 2 News
According to David Shook, the family’s doctor, a bone marrow transplant is the only cure for sickle cell disease and achieves success in 95 percent of all cases.
WESH 2 News reports that when the Aihe family approached him to carry out the procedure, he was shocked to find out later that Stefan was a match for Kingsley and Vanessa.
"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 TV station.
Screenshot of Vanessa Aihe, Stefan’s sister. |Photo: YouTube/WESH 2 News
Vanessa got a bone marrow transplant courtesy of her younger brother a few years ago and is now free from sickle cell disease. Kingsley got his last November, and the young man cannot stop marveling at their “miracle:”
"It's kind of a bit of a miracle, in my opinion."
The children’s mother revealed that Stefan is delighted to have been able to donate to his siblings and give them a new lease of life.
"I feel like God did it for us, so we were blessed," she told the outlet.
The Aihes and Dr. Shook are now telling the story of Stefan and his siblings to let people know there’s a cure for sickle cell disease and encourage folks to consider becoming a donor.
For more information on donating bone marrow, visit bethematch.org
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