Santa Fe business owner Moustapha Idrissa is raising money to travel to Seattle, WA to cover temporary cost of living expenses while his son receives a life-changing bone marrow transplant. Moustapha, a Santa Fe resident from Niger, moved to Santa Fe in 2016 to study sustainable agriculture in the desert. He is an entrepreneur who operated a local favorite food cart on the Santa Fe Plaza for several years. His food cart, Mafe Café, sold West African/New Mexican fusion to local residents and tourists alike. While running his business, Moustapha and his wife Balkissa were also taking care of their 3-year-old son Muhammad who was diagnosed with Sickle Cell Anemia as an infant. He and his wife have, over the years, managed Muhammad’s disease through diet, infection prevention, hydration and proper rest. Avoided extreme temperature; too cold could trigger sickle cell crisis, and too hot could make him dehydrated, leading to crisis.
In 2019 Muhammad suffered a silent stroke and has since received monthly blood transfusions to prevent a deadly stroke. Due to Muhammad’s complications from Sickle Cell Anemia, Moustapha’s family made the difficult decision to move to Las Cruces from Santa Fe. Because Las Cruces has a lower elevation, doctors thought the move could increase oxygen levels and help reduce the risk of another stroke. Unfortunately, Muhammad has accumulated too much iron from the blood transfusions that have been keeping his condition at bay.
Moustapha’s family has been blessed to have discovered that Muhammad’s 3-year-old sister Jennah is a perfect donor match for a bone marrow transplant.
Jennah was a miracle; she was born prematurely at 25 weeks and weight 2.2lb. Their family almost lost her. Balkissa had a complicated pregnancy. Her doctor recommended she stay in the hospital until her due date, which was 4 months away. Jennah was born two weeks after Balkissa’s admission to Lovelace hospital in Albuquerque. Jennah was extremely small and was kept in the NICU for 3 and half months. 10 days after Jennah’s birthMoustapha flew to Memphis with Muhammad to see doctors at St. Jude, who specialize in pediatric Sickle Cell Anemia.. During the visit he had an MRI and they told Moustapha that his son had recently suffered silent stroke. The hematologist Dr. Hantkins recommended he immediately start a monthly blood transfusion. She also told him to seriously consider a bone marrow transplant for his son. Upon returning home, everyone except Jennah (still in the NICU) was tested for HLA typing, and nobody was a match. They were very disappointed and gave up hope of finding a match. Jennah was their last hope, and they were praying for her to survive. Jennah thrived, and 9 months later, she was tested and found to be a perfect match 100%. This transplant will cure Muhammad's Sickle Cell Anemia.
Muhammad is scheduled to have his bone marrow transplant surgery this July at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. His family will be moving from New Mexico to Washington state for 10 months while he and his sister recover from the surgery. Due to his son’s extended time in the hospital, Moustapha, who recently graduated from New Mexico State University with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, will be unable to work for the next 8-10 months. He will focus on caring for his son during the transplant process while his wife takes care of their other 3 young children.
Their goal is to raise enough money to help pay for food, transportation, rent, and some medical expenses.
Please consider a donation to help this wonderful family. The funds raised will go toward Muhammad’s recovery, as well as their family’s living expenses, including temporary housing in Seattle, expenses of daily living, and any additional post-transplant expenses or follow-up therapies not covered by health insurance. They are fortunate to have the resource- The Ronald McDonald Foundation. However, this is only covered while Muhammad is hospitalized.
Moustapha and his family have given so much to Santa Fe and New Mexico through his time as a small business owner and resident. This surgery will change Muhammad’s quality of life and quite possibly save his life.