Janet and Ron give thanks for Ava's life every day. When Ava was just six months old, they took her to the doctor with what they believed was "just a cold" and learned she had a life threatening blood disease. They were devastated, but the doctors offered them one glimmer of hope-a marrow transplant could be a cure. On January 7, 2011, two months after her first birthday, Ava received her marrow transplant and was given a second chance at life.
Below is Janet and Ron's first letter to Michelle, the young woman who donated marrow to save Ava's life. A donor and recipient must wait one year before they can exchange contact information, if the donor center allows and both parties consent. Prior to that time, anonymous messages may be sent through their donor center and all identifying information is removed.
Dear "Anonymous 20-year-old ANGEL in PA,"
How can we ever thank you for the sacrifice and gift you have given us? How do you thank someone for saving your child's life? How do you thank someone for stepping up for a complete stranger? I have wanted to write this note for some time now, but adequate words fail me.
THANK YOU for registering with Be The Match. THANK YOU for answering "the call." THANK YOU for facing the nerves and fear you must've felt. THANK YOU for enduring the pain and discomfort during and after the harvest, especially during the holidays. THANK YOU for being THE ONE for our sweet baby girl!
We are 4 months post transplant and "A" is doing remarkably well. While there have been a few bumps in the road, she and her (your) new immune system are getting along great. So far so good. Pre-transplant, "A" clearly didn't feel well and it affected her sleeping, eating and disposition. Post-transplant, she is a whole different girl-happy, happy, happy! We have remarked to each other several times: "that donor must have a sunny disposition!"
"A" is our first and only cherished child, and it certainly has been a roller coaster year with her illness. But I am telling you, your magic bone marrow has changed the course of our lives forever. I hope it gives you enormous pride and comfort to know that you hold responsibility for that. Thank you for giving us back the future we have hoped and dreamed and planned for!
I hope one day we can meet, but for now, sweet angel, I hope you are happy and proud, and peaceful and loved.
With thanks and eternal gratitude,
"Anonymous parents of your 17-month-old marrow recipient"
Little Ava met Michelle in September 2013. Watch the heartwarming video.