Saturday, December 10, 2011

Love for Lucas - A Heartwarming Bone Marrow Transplant Story

Recently, I came across the story of Lucas Gonzalez, an adorable 3 year-old, who very much needs a bone marrow transplant.  He was born with hyper IgM syndrome, a genetic disorder that results in a severely compromised immune system (i.e. an infection could kill him).  As you may or may not know, this disease and most blood cancers arise as a result of "dysfunctional bone marrow."  Therefore, the only true curative approach to this disease as well as AML (my diagnosis), is a hematopoietic stem cell transplant or in the case of Lucas and myself, specifically a bone marrow transplant (BMT).

Lucas's Parents Need $50,000
Despite having insurance, there is a huge financial burden placed upon families facing BMTs, in addition to the emotional strain of being in near isolation for months and the unpredictable nature of transplants.  As with my parents, Lucas' mom and dad need to support Lucas and therefore, leaving work is a necessity.  However, Lucas is not as fortunate as I.  He and his entire family have to relocate to a different state to be near a reputable transplant center.  This unfortunate situation means that his parents will not be able to alternate work and "transplant watch" shifts, like my parents did for me.  You're likely wondering, "how will they afford Lucas's life-saving transplant?"  The answer: A series of photos that told Lucas's story and the help of Reddit.  

Here's the beginning of Lucas's story in photos:


The story goes on to explain that the family needs about $50,000 to cover the expenses related to Lucas's transplant and asks the Reddit community for help.  Lucas's dad even promised to tattoo the Reddit Alien on his arm if the requested amount was successfully raised.  

A Happy Ending and Beginning
So did they get help?  You betcha!  In just a couple of hours, the Reddit community donated over $31,000 to help save little Lucas and the full $50,000 was reached by midnight.  Shortly thereafter, Lucas's dad posted "Reddit.  You are cut off. Stop. Stop now.  We have all that we need. I cannot thank you enough."  Needless to say, this is an amazing ending to this short but touching fundraising story and more importantly, an amazing beginning to a new life for Lucas.  Wishing you the best of luck on your transplant, little buddy!     

As promised, Lucas's dad now rocks a Reddit Alien.

As I could not possibly do this story justice in a short post, be sure to check out all of Lucas's photos and a proper article of the story.  Don't forget the tissues!

Although Lucas's dad isn't accepting any more donations, you can still make a difference for kiddos like Lucas.  Dana-Farber's labs work on cutting edge treatments for oncology and hematology disorders and undoubtedly, little guys like Lucas could one day benefit by this innovative research.  Please consider making a donation by clicking below.  THANKS!

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