CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - September 8th:
Excited to introduce you guys to 19-year-old Jack Santos. His sister is his perfect match.
Jack, who lives in Charlotte, needed a blood and marrow transplant. He’d been diagnosed in March of 2018 with aplastic anemia. That’s a condition that happens when your body stops producing enough new blood cells. It’s rare, and can develop at any age. All of Jack’s family was tested to see if they could be a donor for him; multiple other donors across the country were also tested.
Results showed his sister Shelby as the absolute perfect one.
Now let me be clear… Jack didn’t have cancer. And I know September’s “30 Kids. 30 Stories. 30 Days.” focuses on pediatric cancer. But needing a BMT is a very common type of procedure for kids with pediatric cancer, and Jack understands this type of treatment. In fact, Levine Children's Hospital has a whole new set-up on its 11th floor to do BMT’s – a place tons of pediatric cancer patients will go to fight their cancers – and Jack has kindly invited me to meet him there tomorrow morning for a tour.
We’ll do the tour live on Facebook so you guys can see it too.
As for Jack, he can say more tomorrow but he had his transplant in August of 2018. He was released finally on October 6th.
“I had to go through half-dose chemo and another drug which wiped out my immune system,” he said. “Then they drew bone marrow from my sister who was in another room, and walked over and gave her marrow to me.”
Then doctors had to wait for her cells to take over his, and he was on tons of medications... but bottom line? It worked.
“We cured my aplastic anemia!” he said. “I still have routine follow-ups and vaccinations for my new immune system… but I’m cured. The new BMT area I'll show you will help you and everyone else understand what kids who fight cancer or other illnesses like I did, go through.”
Can't wait. See you tomorrow at 9am, Jack.
Everyone reading this is invited.
**NOTE**: These 30 September #MollysKids stories highlight REAL kids in our community who battle. The stories are meant to be shared and educate, as they have every September since 2013. This year, I also encourage you to comment below with a message. Not to me. Please don’t write me. Write the family. Or, say something to the child. In this case, Jack. It’s like sending a handwritten card, only easier. The families won’t think you’re a stranger. For many of them, you’ll represent hope. You are support. Cancer can feel like an island – let them know you are present. The Good, the Bad and the Always Real. Right? Every post. Every day. Thank you.
*Editor’s note: This is about one of #MollysKids, children WBTV Anchor Molly Grantham follows closely on her Facebook page. It was first published there, which is why it’s written in a personal way. For years Molly has followed hundreds of kids with uphill medical battles. Find this story and updates on all #MollysKids here.