This past September, about the same time as youth season, our world was flipped upside down. Our Grant, my Grant, my best buddy, was diagnosed with a bone marrow failure disorder known as Severe Aplastic Anemia. This is an extremely rare condition with less than 10,000 cases known worldwide! In a nutshell, Grant's bone marrow is not able to produce enough blood cells to support his body. Because of this, Grant has been receiving weekly platelet transfusions and periodic red blood transfusions when needed. The rarity and severity of this disease is absolutely terrifying! Our local hospital has only seen this disease a handful of times and most of them were referrals from other locations.
My wife and I are determined to find and get the best care for Grant... We have been to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, had zoom meetings with Children's of Philadelphia, Children's of Cincinnati and we are currently sitting in Milwaukee seeking treatment from a highly recommended physician. Hopefully this is the answer that we have been searching for but if not, we will keep hunting...
The only cure for Grant's condition is a Bone Marrow Transplant. And in order to do a BMT you must have an acceptable donor. This is where things get frustrating... There are over 7 billion people on this planet and only 9 million are registered to be a bone marrow donor. THERE ARE OVER 4,000 PEOPLE WAITING ON A DONOR, RIGHT NOW, WITHOUT A MATCH! These are people with life threatening conditions like my son that will NEED a donor to continue their run at life.
Guys, this is my only "ask"... Look into getting swabbed to be a donor. It is as easy as anything you will ever do. You can go to bethematch.com and they will send you a swab kit, with return postage. Chances are that you will never be called upon to truly decide if you want to donate but being on the registry is the best way to give someone hope at life!
Prior to this family health crisis, I had purchased my first "Farm". This purchase was something that I have dreamed about for 20 years but became more important in the last 5 years with Grant in the hunting mix. I wanted to secure a piece of dirt that would give my boys the opportunity to hunt and fish, just as I was raised.
I'm not going to go into many details of my hunt because I want to write an article using this deer to get attention for my sons condition and ultimately save a few lives. But in short, I found this deers shed a few weeks after purchasing my farm and had high hopes of seeing him this year. I had very few Trail camera photos this summer and actually didn't get a good picture of him until 10/30... But on the morning on 11/13 I was able to seal the deal with a perfectly placed arrow, sporting Grants initials on the vanes. Buck went down within 30 yards of the stand and Grant was the first person I called! I then made the drive back to my house to pick him up and let him lead the way on the recovery. Walking up on the deer, with my son, on my farm was an emotional rollercoaster!
Thanks for those who read this. Please take a moment to look into becoming a bone marrow donor. There is no reason why EVERYONE can't have a donor. And in this hunting "community", we CAN make the difference. The ideal bone marrow donor is a male, under the age of 40. PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO LOOK INTO IT!
Best of luck to your son. I'm sure he'll find his match someday and do great.