From a coworker:
Life has a blunt way of reminding you that everything can change in a blink of an eye. One minute you are preparing for the 4th of July parade and the next minute you’re sitting in the waiting room as your daughter undergoes a bone marrow biopsy. This is a true story that is happening to my colleague’s daughter, Sophia. It all started during a routine annual checkup with the pediatrician telling her Sophia was "healthy and normal." Those are the words every parent wants to hear, and also words that are taken for granted more often than not. My colleague, Michelle, expressed concern about Sophia bruising easily. His response was general, stating that it is normal for children to have bruises on their legs, but that answer did not sit well with Michelle. With her insistence, the pediatrician agreed to order a blood test for Sophia. They were referred to a lab that was specialized in blood draws, however, this experience turned out to be a traumatic event for Sophia. The phlebotomists and nurses were not experienced in drawing from a child. Far from comforting her, they instead threatened to "hold her down and send her to the hospital" if she didn't stop crying and sit still. After EIGHT, yes EIGHT, vials of blood they claimed they didn’t have enough blood to run a CBC...really?! Again, her pediatrician said that she seemed fine and was healthy so they could table the concern for now. As a mother, Michelle knew her daughter was not okay. Besides the bruising, Sophia has never shown any other physical signs that would make her mother question her health. Quite the contrary; Sophia is a child full of energy and curiosity. Like every 5 year old. But call it mother's intuition, a gut feeling, or whatever you believe, Michelle called the pediatrician again a few weeks later and insisted on taking Sophia to the hospital or to a pediatric phlebotomist. He agreed and the results of those tests are what led us to today. Sophia has been diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia, and life as they knew it, will never be the same.
Currently Sophia undergoes weekly blood draws. She is immunosuppresed, has critical low platelets and white cell counts. I would like to ask everyone please to send both Michelle and Sophia positive thoughts and prayers. Michelle is extremely thankful for her pediatrician and the Oncologists / Hematogists & staff that currently work with her to help Sophia continue to grow and fight Aplastic Anemia. She is often asked if Aplastic Anemia is merely an iron deficiency. It is not. Aplastic Anemia is bone marrow failure. With Sophia’s critical counts, they are waiting to see what will be the next steps for her treatment, which range from a blood transfusion, bone marrow transplant, to Immunosupressive Drug Thearapy. Sophia is a fighter and her fight is also her mother's.
During these hard times, Michelle will also be incurring a tremendous amount of bills fighting this battle (i.e. co-pay prescriptions, co-pay medical bills, insurance, food, and household expenses). This site has been started to help offset these amounts, or to help lighten the financial burden for Michelle. My heart goes out to Michelle and Sophia because every child should have the opportunity to live a full, happy life. Those of us who are lucky enough to have healthy children have the opportunity to contribute to the fight many children face, including Sophia. I will ask that anyone who can donate, please do so. Even if your contribution is small, all of it helps. All funds donated will go directly to pay for Sophia’s expenses, as well as insurance, and household expenses. If you are able to help with any donation, it will be greatly appreciated.