Robin Pownall was excited to bring her twins into the world. Already a mother, she was about to bring two more into the family.
Santino and Giovanni both made their debut on October 14 of last year. They were premature at 33 weeks, but they were perfect.
Shortly after birth, though, the family was hit with some hard news. Both boys had a rare condition known as Chronic Granulomatous Disease.
That meant that their immune systems were severely compromised and even the slightest sickness could kill them.
Usually the next step is to get on a donor list, as bone marrow from a healthy individual can be the best cure. Family, of course, would make the best donors, but neither mom nor dad were matches.
But their older brother, Michael, was. Since he was only 4 years old, his parents were hesitant to use him as a donor — how could a 4-year-old possibly comprehend what was going to happen?
“We were straight up — ‘It’s going to be a big needle going into your back, bud,’” Pownall later recounted. “We asked him, ‘Do you want to do this? If you’re scared, you don’t have to.’”
“Part of me was like, ‘Well, he’s 4. Maybe he doesn’t know what’s going on.’ But he did, and he was all for it.”
“We were in no way, shape or form going to push anything. He was all for it and we had a good feeling about it. It’s amazing — he’s so proud. Such a brave little guy.”
Michael was pretty excited to be involved, and was in good spirits as he went in to have his bone marrow extracted.
He drank the “giggle juice” they gave him, fell asleep, and woke up no worse for the wear.
He even insisted that the small wounds on his back didn’t hurt, and that he was fine. He was also very excited to think that he would be helping his baby brothers.
Their aunt reported on GoFundMe after the procedure, saying everything went well.
“He is perfectly well, playing and all like nothing happened. Giovanni received the bone marrow cells around 2:30 pm & then Sonny received the bone marrow cells around 5:30 pm.”
“Both babies are doing well and sleeping. Now is time for their bodies to heal, with the new bone marrow cells to build up a healthy immune system.”
Now Giovanni and Santino have no trace of the disease they were born with. And all because of their very brave 4-year-old big brother named Michael.
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