Siblings Kingsley, 22, and Vanessa, 13, were both born with sickle cell disease, the blood disorder that causes the breakdown of red blood cells which can result in blocking oxygen and blood flow to certain parts of the body.
Many who suffer from sickle cell, like Kingsley and Vanessa, live a life filled with excruciating pain, doctors visits, sickle cell emergencies, inability to do the simplest of tasks and just overall heartache from such a horrible disease. Over a lifetime, sickle cell disease can harm a patient’s spleen, brain, eyes, lungs, liver, heart, kidneys, penis, joints, bones, or skin.
But Kingsley and Vanessa’s 8-year-old little brother, Stefan, literally came to the rescue and saved both of their lives.
It was only after the family decided that they would go through the bone marrow transplant process with both Kingsley and Vanessa, they were surprised and ecstatic to discover that Stefan was a match for both of their other children. Vanessa was cured after Stefan gave her a transplant a few years ago and now Kingsley is cured from a transplant that Stefan gave him in November. “It’s incredibly rare to have the same donor give to two different siblings. You know, to match is uncommon, but it’s not impossible,” Dr. David Shook told the news outlet.
Their mother Nikki Aihe says this has been a huge blessing for the family. The family hopes their story will inspire others to spread awareness about sickle cell and individuals will step up and become donors. There have been efforts to bring attention to the disease and its disparities. Pfizer recently announced that the company is teaming up with other sickle cell advocates to push research surrounding the disease forward.
“It’s incredibly rare to have the same donor give to two different siblings,” their Aihes’ physician, Dr. David Shook, told WESH.
“It’s kind of a bit of a miracle, in my opinion,” said Kingsley.
“I feel like God made it happen for us,” says the children’s mom, Nikki Aihe.
It is estimated that:
SCD affects approximately 100,000 Americans.
SCD occurs among about 1 out of every 365 Black or African-American births.
SCD occurs among about 1 out of every 16,300 Hispanic-American births.
About 1 in 13 Black or African-American babies is born with sickle cell trait (SCT).
Unlike sickle cell disease, individuals with sickle cell trait carry only…