“Today’s her second birthday,” gleefully proclaims Tobi’s mother. She has picked out a special dress and hair bow the size of her smile to commemorate the milestone not typically celebrated by 13-month-olds.
It’s transplant day for the doll-like toddler diagnosed with sickle cell disease at a newborn screening. A three-hour drip of blood stem cells flows from a plastic bag hanging by her crib through a tiny tube concealed by ruffles of pink tulle. Martha and her husband, Elisha, and their sons Elshajah, 8, and Rayroni, 4, are all there to celebrate the long-awaited day. Tobi’s eyelids grow heavy and signal the beginning of a nap. Just 24 hours earlier 8-year-old Elshajah was having stem cells harvested to donate to his sister. Now he is playing miniature cars on the sofa with his little brother.
“This is an opportunity and a privilege to see all the blessings God has given medical science,” Elisha says. “I met a family who traveled here from Brazil, and we live just 30 miles from the hospital.”
Martha sums up the day more succinctly. “It’s an answered prayer.”
A heartwarming “first practice” for 15-year-old Wilfre.
Celebrating a first birthday in the hospital isn’t ideal, but the Johns Hopkins All Children’s staff helps “Sea Bass” and his family have a special day.
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