Almost seven months after six-year-old Jake Larkin was diagnosed with an extremely rare blood disease, a life saving bone marrow match has been found.
Irish Americans Kimberly Cluff and Bob Larkin had their lives turned upside down in February when their youngest child, Jake, was diagnosed with Severe Aplastic Anemia, an autoimmune disease that causes Jake’s bone marrow to stop working.
After a global appeal to people of Irish descent for a bone marrow match, the family announced on Friday that Jake’s match has been found.
Jake had a bone marrow transplant on September 14, at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.
In a statement, his parents expressed their gratitude to those involved in the bone marrow search.
“On Friday, 211 days after Jake’s diagnosis, we breathed a huge sigh of relief as Jake had his bone marrow transplant from a perfectly matched, unrelated donor.
“We know next to nothing about the bone marrow donor, except: it is a woman; so far her marrow is the only perfect ‘10 out of 10’ match found in the entire world; and she is an amazing individual.
“We are extremely grateful to her, to those that tested to see if they matched Jake, and to the countless friends, media, and volunteers who support him. It’s a second chance at life for Jake and we hope it will mean a cure.”
According to Be The Match®, National Marrow Donor Program®, the next milestone in Jake’s recovery is “engraftment” or the process where the donated cells from the transplant start to grow and make new blood cells.
After engraftment, his blood cell counts should go up and his immune system, which was destroyed to prepare his body to receive the bone marrow, should become stronger. It may take many months, even years, for his immune system to return to normal.
Jake will remain in isolation at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin until his risk for infection decreases, but at some point during the first 100 days, he may be released from the hospital and continue his treatment on an outpatient basis.
To stay up todate on Jake’s progress, connect with him on Facebook.
For more on his experience with severe aplastic anemia, visit his web site at www.matchjake.org.