“There were some Christmases when we didn’t know if it would be the last holiday for Luke or Molly.”

Posted December 9th, 2013 by Be The Match and filed in Patient Stories
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Luke-Molly_203pxThe vivacious, brown-eyed siblings both love splashing around in the family pool, camping in the great outdoors, and just being silly together. Luke and Molly, ages 8 and 5, are like most happy and spirited siblings, except for an uncommon bond: both are afflicted by myleodysplastic syndromes (MDS)/monosomy 7, a rare blood condition. The only cure is a marrow transplant.

You wouldn’t know it by looking at them today, but both children endured months of treatment and years of recovery – culminating in life-extending marrow transplants.

Luke was only 8-months-old when he was diagnosed. It was a day his parents, Julie and Brandon, will never forget. “Once you hear those words ‘your child has cancer,’ you learn to live a new normal,” said Julie.

At first, the family didn’t realize they couldn’t be Luke’s donors. In the frightening days that followed, they searched for his perfect match. “We had to count on complete strangers – and that’s when we learned about Be The Match®,” said Julie.

Fortunately, Luke found a match. His transplant went well, and once the little boy regained his strength, the family was anxious to welcome a new baby to the family. They had been told that Luke’s condition wasn’t genetic.

Little Molly came into the world seemingly healthy, but as she grew, the toddler’s body was often marred by multiple bruises. Julie insisted that doctors run extra blood tests, which confirmed her worst fears: Molly had MDS has well. This time, Julie and Brandon knew the challenges ahead.

Like her brother, Molly also found a donor through the Be The Match Registry®, but she had a more difficult recovery. She still remembers losing her long, blonde locks. At the tender age of 5, she has a remarkably matter-of-fact attitude about her struggle. As she recently told nearby shoppers in a Target checkout line, “I had cancer, but I didn’t die.”

These days, every childhood stepping stone and each family gathering holds a special meaning for the family. Last summer, Luke and Molly explored the wonders of Yellowstone during a family camping trip. Their parents feel a special joy each time Luke steps up to bat or Molly prances on stage.

Of all the family gatherings and celebrations, Christmas is by far their favorite. Recalls Julie, “There were some Christmases when we didn’t know if it would be the last holiday for Luke or Molly. It just means so much more now.”

The family is deeply grateful to Be The Match and its contributors. Julie put it simply: “Writing a check may not seem important to some people, but it means to the world to a family like ours. It meant that our children could live.”

You Can Help

As the holidays approach, cancer doesn’t take time off. There is no better way to show your support way than by making a gift to Be The Match. Learn more about how you can give a child the gift of life.

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