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12-year-old boy cured of sickle cell anemia after stem cell transplant: ‘I started crying’



A 12-year-old boy from Indiana gets a new life agreement after a stem cell transplant cured his blood disorder.



a young boy in a blue shirt: Mike Dickbernd / Riley Children's Health


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Mike Dickbernd / Riley Children’s Health

Since his birth, Elliot Preddie has struggled with sickle cell disease, a group of inherited blood diseases that cause a lack of healthy red blood cells.

The condition – which can lead to frequent infections, pain, stunted growth and vision problems – caused Elliot to miss out on activities that other children his age enjoyed.



a young boy in a blue shirt:


© Mike Dickbernd / Riley Children’s Health
“He has energy and stamina he never had,” Elliot Preddie’s mother said of her son’s recovery after receiving a stem cell transplant last year

“When I was younger, I played a lot, but then I got too cold from my sickle cell,” Elliot told WWL-TV.

“That’s why I started quitting all my sports. My baseball and football,” Elliot said as he sat on his porch next to his family.

“He just could not enjoy life as a child,” added his mother, Tremesha Preddie.

But a year after receiving a stem cell transplant at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health, doctors now say Elliot is free of the disease.

“It was a huge sigh of relief,” Tremesha told the hospital. “We definitely shed a few tears.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, bone marrow and stem cell transplants are the only cure for sickle cell disease. However, the procedures carry risks and can cause serious side effects. They can even result in death.

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a person standing in a room: Mike Dickbernd / Riley Children's Health Elliot Preddie


© Delivered by humans
Mike Dickbernd / Riley Children’s Health Elliot Preddie

Elliot received his stem cell transplant from an adult cousin, though the hospital notes that the best donors are siblings. Yet Elliot’s younger brother, Carter, has also been diagnosed with sickle cell anemia.

“We were released from the hospital after 37 days,” Tremesha said of her son’s recovery after the transplant. “You have to wait for the immune system to restart before they can actually test it. The first test showed that when it grew back, the bone marrow was 100 percent donor marrow. None of his sickle cell bone marrow survived, which is it. , we wish. “

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“When we got these results, I kind of lost,” she added. “It was finally genuine and confirmed that everything he had gone through and my husband and I had gone through on his behalf was worth it.”

Dr. Seethal Jacob, director of the Sickle Cell program at Riley, said doctors were worried that Elliot would eventually develop complications from chronic blood transfusions, which was why the decision for him to receive a stem cell transplant was made.

“When we originally came up with a recommendation regarding transplantation, it was because we knew that without it, he would need chronic blood transfusions for the rest of his life,” Jacob said. “We became concerned when he started developing antibodies against the blood products he was receiving.”

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According to the CDC, sickle cell disease affects 90,000 to 100,000 people in the United States. But the disorder largely affects blacks or African Americans, occurring in one in every 500 births. It also affects one in every 36,000 Hispanic births.

Tremesha told the hospital that when she saw Elliot playing in the sprinkler on their lawn, she knew the transplant had done its job.

“He could not do it before because the cold water would cause a pain crisis,” she said. “And now he goes out and plays in the sprinkler for hours. The first time he did, I started crying. He has energy and endurance that he never had.”

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