Miracle baby gets a bone marrow transplant

CLEVELAND, Ohio (Ivanhoe Newswire) — A bone marrow transplant can be a life-saving procedure, but there are often many obstacles to overcome. One little miracle baby beat all the odds and now has a chance at a normal life.

Today, Denniya Rawls is a happy and healthy baby. But when she was just three months old, Denniya got very sick, and doctors told her parents she wouldn’t make it.

Robin Thornton, Denniya’s mom, said, “She wouldn’t make it overnight, and if she made it overnight, she wouldn’t make it over 24 hours.”

Denniya had a rare condition known as primary HLH. Her immune system was attacking her healthy organs and she needed a bone marrow transplant … fast!

Rabi Hanna, MD, Director of Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation with Cleveland Clinic Children’s said, “Patients with this disease, if they don’t get a bone marrow transplant, they all die, unfortunately.”

But none of Denniya’s relatives was a match. And there’s a major shortage of African American donors. In fact, black patients only find an unrelated donor about 25 percent of the time. But, Denniya’s parents were thrilled when a perfect match was found within just a couple of weeks.

“It was exciting to actually know that they found the match so fast and for it to be ten out of ten. It was just a blessing,” said Dennard Rawls, Denniya’s dad.

Denniya had eight weeks of chemo before her procedure. But then another setback … her condition flared right before the transplant.

“Patients who flare their disease prior to transplant, or, immediately, less than 20 percent of them will survive,” explained Dr. Hanna.

Still, she beat the odds and now at seven months, Denniya’s going home after spending more than 100 days of her short life in the hospital.

At least three thousand people die each year because they can’t find a donor match. While African Americans find a bone marrow donor only about 25 percent of the time, whites are able to find a donor about 75 percent of the time.

Contributors to this news report include: Julie Marks, Producer; Robert Walko, Editor.

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