Toddler diagnosed with leukemia receives life-saving bone-marrow transplant from baby brother

Published: 
November 20, 2017

Toddler diagnosed with leukemia receives life-saving bone-marrow transplant from baby brother

The Gibbens family returned to Florida Hospital for Children to reunite with the medical team that performed the transplant and helped save Grant’s life.

 

 

ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 20, 2017 In September 2016, the Gibbens family — a newly pregnant Jessica, John and their 1-year-old son Grant — all became sick with a cold.

 

While the parents’ health improved within a week, Grant’s became worse. His lymph nodes became inflamed, and his right eye swelled shut.

 

Doctors wanted Grant to be evaluated for cancer. The family traveled from their Palm Bay home to Florida Hospital for Children, where physicians confirmed their young son had leukemia.

 

Grant was treated and returned home on Christmas Eve 2016. But it wasn’t long after that Grant’s leukemia relapsed, and doctors said he needed a bone-marrow transplant.

 

Doctors told the Gibbenses the cord blood from their unborn baby could be a life-saving option for their eldest son — if it was a match. The odds: one in four.

 

On May 16, Jessica gave birth to her second son, Wyatt. His cord blood was tested, and was a match.

 

“We weren’t sure if it was going to take a while for him to be interested in a little kid, but Grant is the best big brother ever,” said Gibbens. “He has no idea what he’s done for him and for our family.”

 

Grant underwent a bone-marrow transplant July 17. Today, he’s cancer free.

 

“Only about a third of kids will have a match within the family,” said Dr. David Shook, medical director of the Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant at Florida Hospital for Children. “We have a fair number of children who don’t have matches, so it’s unusual for it to work out this well where the donor is kind of made to order.”

 

For media inquiries only, contact Florida Hospital Corporate Communications at 407-303-5950 or email FHCorporateCommunicationsTeam@flhosp.org.

 

www.FloridaHospitalNews.com