Sandy and her husband Jared try not to take anything for granted. They believe that even the most trivial things, like walking outside or going to the store, are moments to be grateful. “You value life so much more when you have watched someone fight for theirs,” said Sandy. Since their son, Dalton was eight weeks old, Sandy and Jared have watched him battle for his life and, ultimately, win.
When Dalton was only two months old, he started to experience frequent bacterial and skin infections. After months of appointments, which produced few answers, doctors finally learned that Dalton’s symptoms were a result of a much larger issue: a genetic immune system disorder called severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID). The diagnosis was very scary; Sandy and Jared were told that if untreated, babies with SCID usually die within a year.
Thankfully, Dalton was lucky. Multiple matches were identified and shortly after, Dalton’s doctors requested additional testing to determine which donor would be his best chance for survival.
Before his transplant, Dalton underwent eight days of high dose chemotherapy to prepare his body to accept the new donor cells. While Sandy and Jared knew that a marrow transplant was Dalton’s best hope, watching their child suffer was emotionally taxing. For Sandy, the 100 days post-transplant were “the scariest and most stressful of my life,” she said.
After a long recovery, Dalton was finally able to return home. “You look at him now,” said Sandy, “and you would never know what he has been through. He has gained weight and has his hair back. He is making up for lost time!”
Without a transplant, Dalton might not be alive. This September at the Be The Match Annual Gala, the family got the opportunity they had been waiting for – the chance to thank the stranger that saved their baby’s life. For the first time, Dalton, Sandy and Jared met Dalton’s marrow donor, Dennis, a fire chief from Boise, Idaho and got the chance to thank and hug Dennis for the gift he gave Dalton.
This Thanksgiving, Dalton’s family is thankful for Dennis and all Be The Match supporters. “Thank you will never be enough,” said Sandy, “but it is all we have. It comes from the bottom of my heart.”
This Thanksgiving, you can help give a child the gift of life by supporting the life-saving work of Be The Match. Your gifts help more patients get the marrow donation they need.
*If the donor center allows and both parties consent, a donor and recipient or a recipient’s guardian must still wait one year before they can exchange contact information and meet in person.