Christmas wish: Two sisters battling sickle cell disease hope to find a life-saving match

With all the focus on COVID-19, other serious health issues are being neglected including preventative aid. That includes finding a bone marrow match for two young girls who are trying to find a life-saving donor. One person out there can possibly be the lifeline for two sisters. 

It was February earlier this year, in a year so many of us want to forget. 
a life-changing diagnosis for two sisters. 12-year-old Kimora and 8-year-old Kylie were told they have sickle cell disease, and already Kimora has been hospitalized 10 times when the pain gets too intense. 

"I've been living with this for a while," Kimora said. "It kind of sucks a lot."

Her latest hospital visit lasted more than 20 days.

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"One thing about sickle cell disease is it's unpredictable," explained the girl's mother, Destiny Van Sciver. "A lot of people don't understand that sickle cell affects your blood but affects other organs in your body like your bones, your eyes, it causes strokes, it affects your internal organs and a lot of these sickle cell kids they get chemotherapy."

But it only takes one person, to cure both girls, who can then go on to lead a better life. One bone marrow donor, and the family is desperately looking for a match.

"I need someone who has the same blood type and marrow who is a match to me," said Kimora.

"I wish I could find a bone marrow donor so me and my sister don’t have to live like this," added Kylie.

The big challenge is finding that exact match.

The pandemic has slowed down efforts to find that possible savior, but now people can register through a virtual donor drive, where a kit is mailed to your home for free, a quick cheek swab, send it back and a match may be found.

"That’s why we try to register as much as possible, you never know if that person is going to be a match it’s a numbers game," said Lateasha Rodriguez with DKMS testing.

And the disease impacts African Americans at a higher rate and it's from that community where Kimora and Kylie will find their match. 

After a match is found, the actual process to donate bone marrow can now be done in a non-invasive way. 

"There really isn’t any pain involved, two needles draw blood, separate stem cells and blood returns," explained Rodriguez.

Until then, the family is hanging onto hope.

"It definately keeps me up at night, but I’m hopeful we keep pushing day by day," said the girl's father, Dennis Van Sciver.

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