11 year old boy from Zambia came to India for a Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) to treat Sickle Cell Disease

Last Modified: June 24, 2019  |   Created on: June 24, 2019
Blood Disorder, Patient Testimonials

Every Mother dreams of her child leading a normal, happy and healthy life. This is the story of Mwanza’s Son who was diagnosed with sickle cell disease shortly after his birth. 

When he was around 5 years old, he experienced terrible pain crisis. His parents would gave him medicines, but he wasn’t responding to the medication. His pain and health continued to worsen and soon he was diagnosed with a bone infection. He would often suffer from pneumonia and acute chest syndrome, a condition common in patients with sickle cell disease caused by sickling in the lungs.

To keep his sickle cell levels low, he required blood transfusions as often as every four weeks. The family was devastated at this point seeing the downfall of their son’s health.

In August 2018, on one of their regular visit to the family doctor, the doctor discussed the possibility of a bone marrow transplant with the family and that it would be the best permanent cure for Sickle Cell Disease. Mwanza was also an active member of the sickle cell foundation in Zambia where she had interactions on BMT possibilities with some visiting doctors and parents whose children were suffering from SCD as well.

Mwanza says” It seems like he has spent the majority of his life in doctors’ clinics and hospitals. Hearing the doctor talk about bone marrow transplant I saw a ray of hope, I thought there was a chance for my boy to be a normal 11-year-old, and stop his ongoing crisis.” The parents started to plan for a Bone Marrow Transplant and realised that India had the options of best haematologists who were performing Bone Marrow transplants successfully and that BMT procedures are the cheapest in India than other countries. Soon through a common contact they got in touch with Dr. Surbhi Suden and her team-Lyfboat. Dr. Surbhi explained to them the entire procedure,logistics and cost associated with Bone marrow transplant and proposed the idea to find a fully matched donor for their son through HLA test, as the first step.

Lyfboat Team provided them with HLA kits to find a prospective donor in the family where her son was tested for compatibility with the rest of the family members prior to the transplantation. Once the test results were out their elder son came out to be the best suited fully matched donor in the family. The family had inhibitions about their own child being a donor but Dr. Surbhi patiently explained to them that a fully matched donor increases the transplant success rate and donors experience full recovery in a couple of weeks

In a few weeks the family arranged the funds and planned their trip to India with assistance from Lyfboat Team. The team arranged for their accommodation, Visas and airport pickups. Soon after their arrival Mwanza’s son was taken for pre-op check-ups and evaluations to the hospital. Dr.Vikas Dua gave clearance to the donor and the recipient and the entire procedure was carried out in the state of art BMT unit as Fortis memorial research institute, Gurgaon, one of the best bone marrow transplant hospital in India. Dr. Vikas Dua – a Paediatric Hemato Oncologist and bone marrow transplant specialist in India who did a great job. “I am touched by his level of professionalism and was thoroughly impressed when I got to know that his team has done 200+ paediatric transplants and has even performed some of the very rare transplants in India.” says Mwanza.

“The Bone marrow transplant procedure was a complete success. The child is now on his path to immune recovery. It was not at all easy…but it was very much worth it!! We’re deeply touched by the passion of Dr. Surbhi and her team Lyfboat. They were going out of the way to provide prompt support which was so very humbling!! My son is treated finally. I look forward to the days now when we are back in the country he will not have to skip school or live in isolation missing the fun other kids of his age experience.”

“The Bone marrow transplant procedure was a complete success. The child is now on his path to immune recovery. It was not at all easy…but it was very much worth it!! We’re deeply touched by the passion of Dr. Surbhi and her team Lyfboat. They were going out of the way to provide prompt support which was so very humbling!! My son is treated finally. I look forward to the days now when we are back in the country he will not have to skip school or live in isolation missing the fun other kids of his age experience.”

Mwanza, Zambia

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