Gabby received a lifesaving blood stem cell transplant
Nov 05, 2015 by Gift of Life
It has been over two years since the summer of 2013, but you could drop the word “August” in casual conversation, and it would take Gabby’s family all the way back. It was a Friday morning, around four o'clock, when they got the call. They already knew it couldn’t be good news, considering the time. But when the doctor on the line revealed a diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), their worst fears were confirmed.
Gabby’s parents had taken their daughter to the doctor’s office after seeing the bruises and watching her endure stubborn fevers. She was also constantly fatigued, so they thought it might have been anemia. That Gabby had this life-threatening diagnosis brought on a wave of incapacitating shock. But they pursued and learned that a bone marrow or blood stem cell transplant would give her the best chance of survival. Thus began the search and, thankfully, they soon found the perfect match through the Gift of Life registry. The road stretched far ahead, but this discovery brought them solace and gave them hope.
Gabby’s time in the hospital was difficult with a lot of restrictions and endless medications, but family, friends, and teachers really became an extended family. They provided support whenever and wherever needed. Gabby described the transplant itself as anticlimactic: “We just watched the cells go in and out through the blood and prayed that it would work.”
Well, it did work. Two years later, Gabby has recovered and resumed her normal life—returning to her hobbies and attending school. And recently, she was able to meet her donor Ari. Her dad was quite emotional at this meeting, to the point of tears. He said to Ari, “I can’t express to you how thankful we are. You gave us the greatest gift…that we could have. When you’re in that situation, all you have is hope.”
Gabrielle lives in Methuen, MA, with her mom, dad, and seven-year-old sister Kaleigh. She is eager to get back to her hobbies: arts and crafts, soccer, softball, swimming, pottery, and more.