Hi! My name is Autumn and I'm pretty much like any other teenager - except for the last 18 years I´ve been living with a rare life threatening genetic condition called Diamond Blackfan Anemia (DBA). This means that my bone marrow fails to produce new red blood cells. I have relied on blood transfusions every three weeks just to stay alive for the past five years.
Having so many blood transfusions caused a build up of iron in my body which if not treated would mean that the iron would begin to get stored in my organs, starting with my liver and heart. Damage to these organs would be fatal. Right now I am controlling this with medication delivered by needle every night for 8 hours along with pills to break down the iron overload.
There are only 3000 cases of DBA worldwide. Because of the rarity of the condition there are few avenues of support simply because no one has ever heard of it. Treatment options involve steroid treatment which worked for me until I was 13 and blood transfusion. Both options come with pretty severe side effects
With my family and friends support I made the difficult decision to pursue a bone marrow transplant at Phoenix Children's Hospital. I was a junior in high school making a decision about my future no one else I knew had to make. What I know for sure is that I wanted to finish high school first. I was determined to experience as much as I could with the friends that I grew up with. My doctors supported my choice and so with medication we would also watch my organs more closely via MRI twice a year of my heart and liver to catch any signs of failure early. I am grateful that my body seemed to respond to my wish. I finished high school like most kids do, going to games, participating in clubs, attending school dances and prom. Finishing school first helped prepare me mentally for the tough road that I know is ahead of me. To prepare for this on a financial level will take a bit more help.
To this date, my brother is my only match and my only hope. He will be giving me his bone marrow in hopes that my body will accept it as it’s own.
Having the transplant gives me the chance to change the trajectory of my ?normal".
Your support will make a very stressful situation less so and please know that I am forever grateful for your donation.
Thank you and God bless~
The Children's Organ Transplant Association (COTA) helps children and young adults who need a life-saving transplant by providing fundraising assistance and family support. COTA is the nation’s only fundraising organization solely dedicated to raising life-saving dollars in honor of transplant-needy children and young adults. 100% of each contribution made to COTA in honor of our patients helps meet transplant-related expenses. COTA’s services are free to our families, and gifts to COTA are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.