Bone Marrow for Scarlett

One in 50,000. That’s the chance a person has to be affected by HLH. It’s a life-threatening condition and survival depends on bone marrow donors. But only if the donor is a match. One local family is praying their baby Scarlett finds the match that will save her life.

At 3 months, Scarlett isn’t talking but she communicates in her own way. "Her birth was easy," said Kim Jernigan. "She was perfect. Had a couple of baby issues," continued Jernigan. But otherwise Scarlett was a bundle of joy for parents Kim and Ben Jernigan. 

"We thought she had colic," said her mother. Then on a Tuesday morning, Kim says Scarlett woke with a temperature of 102. At two months, doctors proceeded with a full work up.

"They found that she had low platelets, low red blood cells an low white cells,"said Kim. Kim and Ben were told their only baby needed to be flown to the Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville.

"We finally found out she had HLH," said Kim. Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis is a rare and life-threatening condition. He only chance of survival is a bone marrow transplant.

"She is a fighter," said her dad, Ben Jernigan. "To think your two month old has to have steroids and chemo therapy to survive," said Kim. "We cried and cried. It didn’t seem to bother her," said Ben referencing Scarlett. This is the nightmare and reality for the first time parents. But there is a ray of hope for Scarlett, bone marrow donors.

"She has a 150 that would match but we have two perfect matches possibly three. That one was pending last week. Worries us way more than it does her. She doesn’t know at this age," said Ben

The Jernigans soak in each coo and tiny grin. They think of the people who find it in their hearts to give to save a life.

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