What is Acute Myeloid Leukemia?
Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) is a blood cancer that starts in the bone marrow and affects cells that would normally turn into white blood cells. These damaged cells in the bone marrow become leukemic blasts which do not function normally, yet also grow and survive better than normal cells—multiplying rapidly and ultimately blocking the marrow’s ability to produce normal cells.
Will Bo need a bone marrow transplant?
A bone marrow transplant will be a part of Bo’s treatment. As of September 7th, Bo has a donor—a young man in Europe—and will be receiving his transplant on September 19th.
Can I be tested to see if I am a bone marrow match for Bo?
Naomi was tested to be a directed donor for Bo—as his sibling, she had a 25% chance of being a match. Unfortunately, she was not a match. Bo was cross-referenced for potential matches against the Be The Match registry operated by the National Marrow Donor Program and a match was found! The search was worldwide, and Bo’s donor is actually from Europe!
Be The Match is the largest and most diverse bone marrow registry in the world. You can join the registry by completing an online survey about your medical history and submitting a cheek swab sample by mail via a kit they send you. Once you are part of the Be The Match registry, you will be included in the thousands of people screened as a potential bone marrow match for Bo, and could one day be contacted with the opportunity to save the life of someone like Bo through bone marrow donation.
Chloe and I joined Be The Match together in 2012. Neither of us have been contacted yet as potential donors, but it is all the more meaningful to be a part of the registry now that our family has been directly impacted by this type of cancer. We feel that joining Be The Match is a practical way for our family and friends to get involved and potentially impact the lives of those like Bo who are battling blood cancers. Please consider learning more and joining us! youcouldbethecure.org
If you decide to register with Be The Match, please let us know! We would be encouraged to know that Bo’s story is mobilizing more people to join the fight against Leukemia and Lymphoma.
What will Bo’s treatment look like?
Bo has had 3 inpatient treatment sessions of 4-5 weeks each. The first session began the morning after he was diagnosed and admitted to the PICU. Each session begins with 5-10 days of chemotherapy treatment. These chemo drugs target and destroy both the unhealthy leukemic blasts as well as his healthy white blood cells. This process, while necessary to attack and cure his cancer, unfortunately reduces his immune system to zero and puts him at serious risk for infections. Due to Bo’s compromised immune system after his chemo treatments, he must remain in the hospital for another 3-4 weeks while his body recovers and regains healthy white blood cell counts. For the duration of our stay, Bo is in a special hospital room that is equipped with a HEPA filter and double doors and kept at positive pressure to ensure the cleanest and safest possible environment for him to recover while his immune system is compromised. After each inpatient treatment session, we will return home for a few weeks where Bo will continue to recover and get stronger before returning to the hospital to begin the cycle again.
Each successive chemotherapy cycle destroys a higher and higher percentage of the leukemic blasts, allowing his body to produce healthy white blood cells again.
Bo has completed all 3 chemo treatment sessions and now we are about to embark on his transplant journey. For this part of his treatment, we are actually moving to a different hospital. We are planning to be there for 5-6 weeks, although our stay could be shorter or longer depending on complications.
We will be updating this website as often as we can throughout transplant. We feel so comforted to have you along on this journey and are grateful for your prayers on our behalf. Please check back or feel free to reach out if you’re ever curious how our Bo is doing. We love to hear from you!
Are you staying at the hospital with Bo?
Yes, Chloe and I have been living at the hospital with Bo since he was admitted. Family and friends have been taking great care of Naomi at our home and she comes to visit and spend time with us most days. We are looking forward to the weeks when we can all be together at home as a family.
Can I visit you at the hospital?
We love having visitors, but are also very cautious due to Bo’s compromised immune system during treatment. Please reach out to us if you want to stop by for a visit! Based on how Bo is doing day-to-day and his current risk for infection, we may spend time with you in the family lounge on our floor rather than having a visit in our room.