Jessica's Bone Marrow Transplant

November 4, 2018

My daughter, Jessica Yorkovich, was born with Diamond-Blackfan anemia (DBA), a rare congenital bone marrow failure disease.  Failure of the bone marrow (the center of the bone where blood cells are made) to produce red blood cells causes DBA patients to become severely anemic.

Jessica had been on medication for all of her life to help control her condition.  But, for the past 10 years, she has needed monthly blood transfusions to augment her red blood cell production.  As a result of these transfusions, she has iron deposits in her major organs (heart, liver, etc). To control this iron overload, Jessica has been on a chelation infusion 24/7 for the past year.  This chelation did not help reduce her iron overload.

Her doctors are now concerned that she may be transitioning to aplastic anemia.

Jessica is admitted to Hackensack University Medical Center where she is undergoing second round of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant.  As expected with chemotherapy, she is having a rough time with her symptoms and has developed heart failure and pneumonia.

For the next many months, Jessica will be unable to work due to exposure to other individuals and having a weakened immune system.

Her Mother is a  Special Education Teacher for the Deaf and Handicapped and is on family leave to take care of Jessica.  Her Father is a disabled war Veteran, who is unable to work. The family income has been greatly reduced.

We are asking your help with Jessica and her family.  In addition to the limited family income, there are unpaid medical bills and it is also necessary to perform home modifications to ensure her safety over the next year while her new immune system develops.  In January 2019, she will not have health insurance due to her age.

Thank you in advance for your assistance ... it is really appreciated.

Peggy Yorkovich

Update: November 12, 2018

Jessica was taken for an TEE (transesophageal echocardiogram) this morning.  They are concerned that she may have a heart valve defect that may need to be corrected.  A TEE allows a better/internal view of the heart's structure.  The doctors were unable to perform the procedure because she is in respiratory distress. 

Update: November 13, 2018

Finally some good news.  Sort of.  Jessica feels a little better today and the TEE was able to be performed.   The heart mitral valve defect was discovered.  One of the 2 valves was completely deformed and most of the work was done by the other part of the valve.

The cardiologist feels that this can be controlled by medication for the time being.  Further evaluation and any treatment can be performed after she is discharged from the hospital.

Update: November 15, 2018

Very unhappy little girl today.  She was expecting to come home today, but her blood counts are down, she has respiratory distress again, and nosebleeds. Another chest x-ray is going to be performed.

Update: November 17, 2018

She's home!  Very happy to sleep in her own bed and see her puppy.   We definitely have a lot to be thankful this Thanksgiving.  Now the long road to recovery begins ...

Thank you everyone for your help during these difficult times.  Happy Thanksgiving!
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Peggy Yorkovich 
Fanwood, NJ
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