9 Yr Old Transplant Survivor Meets His Donor
by Jennifer Hudspeth
January 24, 2013 7:32 PM
If someone were to save your life, you would probably like the chance to tell them thank you. Nearly 4 years after a Sioux Falls boy received a life changing bone marrow transplant, he was finally able to meet the man who gave him a second chance.
From college teams, to the great Michael Jordan, Isaiah Mulder loves anything and everything related to basketball. But life hasn’t always been a slam dunk for the 9 year old. When he was 4 years old he was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a disorder that caused his bone marrow to fail.
Isaiah Mulder says, “If I got flicked I would get a bruise and if I jumped from a high spot and landed hard, I'd get a couple bruises on my feet.”
If he was hurt, his body would not produce the cells needed to repair itself and it was the same story if he got sick. After months of treatments failed, Isaiah needed a bone marrow transplant. A week before his scheduled surgery, Isaiah learned a middle aged man was his match. The man was a complete stranger living in Boston and the time. The result was a successful donation and a new lease on life for Isaiah.
“To watch and appreciate and to enjoy each thing...him climbing stairs is amazing to me because I gave him piggybacks for months because he didn't even have the energy to do that,” says Kristin Mulder, Isaiah’s mom.
“Sometimes when I'm running and stuff I stop and think, wow, I used to have to piggy back and now I can just run by myself,” says Isaiah.
Just last week Isaiah and his family got a unique opportunity. After years of communicating only by e-mail, they hopped on a plane to North Carolina to meet Isaiah’s donor, Doug McClentic.
“To see he and Isaiah right next to each other and to see them hold hands and shake hands and hug, through all those miles brought together...that brought me to tears,” says Kristin.
For Isaiah, meeting Doug for the first time was overwhelming. He describes what it felt like to finally say thank you.
“Wow, this is the guy who has the same blood as me, who saved my life, who could have said no but he said yes,” says Isaiah.
It’s a gift that has Isaiah leading a normal, healthy life, with lots of basketball included.
Isaiah says, “I love sports, I love to hang out with my friends, I love to have sleepovers, I love play with my brothers, play video games, just like any regular boy... I feel great.”
If you or someone you know would like to become a donor, you can go to www.marrow.org
to become part of the National Bone Marrow Registry.