A sick child is always cause for concern. For one Michigan family, the smallest cold could mean the difference between life and death.
Little 7-month-old Elias began life as a healthy baby. When he was about two months old, his parents, Evelyn and Antonio Argirokastritis, noticed a change.
Elias began to lose weight and stopped eating. “Now all of a sudden (to see him) not eat and have to sit next to him losing weight. It’s heartbreaking,” said Antonio. And little Elias’s condition continued to decline.
Evelyn and Antonio soon learned that their precious baby suffered form a rare immune disorder, a disorder that only 22 others have been reported to have in the US.
With no working immune system, they now feared that at any moment, Elias would become fatally sick.
The prognosis wasn’t good. Doctor’s did not think that Elias would even make it to seven months, but he did.
Still, both parents worried that they might unknowingly bring an illness into the house and expose their child.
“There’s a chance I could bring something home and not even know it,” said Antonio, worried about the consequences that would most certainly lead to hospitalization for Elias.
Elias had a chance to live. He would need a bone marrow transplant, but finding a donor match would prove to be a challenge.
While they waited, Elias was kept in a sterilized environment, away from the the outside germs. “If he were to get the respiratory infection that’s going on, it could be lethal,” said Evelyn.
Feeling helpless, the family turned to Be the Match, a registry that helps to find bone marrow matches.
After the family had been tested and Be the Match came up empty, Evelyn and Antonio realized that time could be running out for their child.
Continuing to work along side of Be the Match, they are now hosting a bone marrow drive in their town of Rochester. They hope to find a match soon.
At the drive, a small cheek swab is all it takes to see if a potential donor is a match. Then a blood sample is collected for further testing.
If a match is found, bone marrow would be taken from the hip. Six hours of one person’s day could give little Elias a full and healthy life.
“He needs just the smallest amount of bone marrow from you to help him live a full life,” said Evelyn. The are working to keep him healthy so that, when the time comes, he will be ready for a transplant.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.