Gift of Hope

Rachel was diagnosed with Pure Red Cell Aplasia about two years ago. Thanks to an anonymous donors bone marrow, she has been given the gift of hope.


Rachel was diagnosed with Pure Red Cell Aplasia when she was only six years old. Pure Red Cell Aplasia is a rare disease, the bone marrow doesn’t produce red blood cells. This means oxygen isn’t transported around the body and causes massive shock to organs.

After two years of red blood cell transfusions and hospital isolation stays, Rachel became dependent on blood transfusions. The doctors told her mother that the only option left was a bone marrow transplant.

“We had become experts on the signs to look out for when her blood levels dropped. She would go so pale she looked translucent, she would lose her appetite, wouldn’t be able to sleep, become listless and lethargic, and her heart would pump so fast. If she didn’t get a transfusion she would be in danger of going into heart failure.”

The transplant took place because they were able to find a 10/10 match from just 70,000 donors. The donor list in South Africa is remarkably low but the odds were in Rachel’s favour. On the day her mother noted that even though it was life changing, it was the simplest thing she had seen.

“We wore scrubs and masks as the doctor and nurse watched the stem cells drip into Rachel’s body.
About half an hour after the procedure started, the doctor took off his mask and gave us a thumbs-up. “That’s it,” he said. “It’s over.”

“It was remarkably undramatic; even ordinary. Rachel, who had been playing on her iPad, hadn’t even noticed that a life-changing event had taken place.”

Before the transplant kicked off, Rachel had a week of Chemo to wipe out her own bone marrow. After six weeks in hospital she was released into care at home but had to remain in quarantine because she had no immune system to fight infection and disease.

After many more weeks of fighting infection and a few hospital visits, Rachel’s new bone marrow started performing. The battle has been a tough one but things are finally starting to look up. There is still a long road ahead for the family. Rachel’s mother shared the story on her Facebook page to help encourage people to become registered bone marrow donors.

As Friday was Sunflower day, she shared the organisations info and encouraged others to become life savers too. You can find out how to become a donor on their website. You could be that person to give the gift of hope to someone else.

Sources: Facebook 
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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