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Mother’s Hope For Son Lies In Cord Blood Donation

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MESQUITE (CBSDFW.COM) – A three month-old Mesquite baby has a rare genetic disease that would have gone unnoticed had it not been for the uncle he never got the chance to meet.

Desirae Harris named her baby ‘Dillon’ after her brother who died 16 years ago. But, the two share more than the same first name.

“We said as soon as he’s born, ‘we want to have him tested,'” Desirae Harris said.

Baby Dillon, tested positive for Chronic Granulomatous Disease, the same, rare, genetically inherited disease that took the life of his namesake at the age of two.

“He was sick most of his life. He couldn’t do normal things like we could. He couldn’t get in the swimming pool. He couldn’t play in the dirt,” said Desirae.

The disease makes it difficult to fight infection. Desirae’s brother eventually died from one.  Which is why Desirae holds her son close. “If something does happen to him, I’d never get that again,” she said.

But with advances in genetic testing and modern medicine, Doctors at Medical City Children’s Hospital can give her hope.

Dr. Carl Lenarsky, the Director of Pediatric Hematology at Medical City Children’s Hospital, said, “There is a potential for a cure with this disease and that cure is what we call a stem cell transplant.”

“Somewhere someone in the world donated their baby’s cord blood. It’s been sitting in a bank. And, when we did a computer search, we were able to find an excellent match,” said Dr. Lenarsky.

First, Baby Dillon will have to undergo chemotherapy to get rid of his sick bone marrow and sick white blood cells.

“Once we get rid of the sick bone marrow or sick immune system, usually a day or two later, the umbilical cord from the donor will be infused into his body,” Dr. Lenarsky said.

There are risks.  “There may be as much as 5-10 percent chance of dying from the procedure,” said Dr. Lenarsky.

But it also means a 90 to 95 percent chance at a better, longer life. “I want him to be a normal little boy. I want for him to be able to get dirty. For me to clean up after him,” Desirae said chuckling at the thought.

Dillon and his family enrolled in the Advanced Maternal and Newborn Institute at Medical City Children’s Hospital before his birth.

As a result, specialists have had a medical plan ready for him since the moment he came into the world. Log on to www.medicalcityhospital.com/amni

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