St. Louis, MO (PRWEB) August 31, 2013
This summer, Gabby Carter played on the beach. She waded into the ocean. She spent hours some afternoons in the pool. Her summer included activities that would seem normal to any 7-year-old. But, for Gabby, they were extraordinary.
Last summer, Gabby was a very sick little girl. She was born with sickle cell disease, an inherited blood disorder that causes a change in the shape to red blood cells. The misshapen cells, which look like crescents, caused her blood to move less efficiently through her body, depriving her organs of oxygen, causing intense pain and putting her at high risk for stroke.
“For Gabby, we knew it was just a matter of time before she would have a stroke,” her mom, Debbie Carter, remembers.
By the summer of 2012, the road for the Carter family had already been a difficult one. Gabby was diagnosed with sickle cell disease when she was just a baby. When her daughter was 10 months old, doctors told Debbie how the future would likely look. She knew the odds Gabby would suffer through pain crises and anemia.
The family spent months in and out of St. Louis Children’s Hospital, managing the symptoms of Gabby’s disease. In November 2011, she had to start monthly blood transfusions due to narrowed blood vessels in her brain, a risk for future strokes. Then came hope –an anonymous donor was a good bone marrow match, and a bone marrow transplant was the best option for treatment. Gabby was 5 at the time.
“This was what we were waiting for. This was her shot at a cure,” says Debbie.
But the donor decided not to go through with the procedure, leaving the Carters looking at other possibilities.
“We had another option,” says Dr. Shalini Shenoy, director of the Bone Marrow Transplant Program at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. “We found a cord blood product that was a suitable match for Gabby in the cord blood bank.”
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