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A Special Bond: Boy, 9, Donates Bone Marrow to Twin Sister with Rare Disease

2.5 from 8 votes
Wednesday, September 21, 2016

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LYNN, United States - Desirae Desmond is just like many other 9-year-old girls. Her favorite Disney princess is Aurora (from "Sleeping Beauty") and she squabbles from time to time with her twin brother, Jake. But Jake and Desirae have a bond that most siblings — even twins — don't. Jake is Desirae's bone marrow donor.

Desirae was diagnosed with Fanconi Anemia in 2014, a rare disease that mainly affects the patient's bone marrow. All members of the Desmond family, including the first set of twins, were tested to see if they were a match to donate their bone marrow. Jake was the only perfect match. "We're very blessed that he is a match," said Dawn Desmond, Jake and Desirae's mother. This past August, Jake went into the hospital and donated his marrow. Both he and Desirae are home in Lynn now, and her doctors say she's recovering unusually fast.

Dawn Desmond said that when Desirae was first given the diagnosis, doctors told them not to Google it. The worst case scenarios of Fanconi Anemia — largely a shortened lifespan — are highly-publicized online. Patients are likely to develop cancer by the time they're 20. But it was through the internet that the Desmonds met other victims of the rare disease, some in their 40s.

Class of '83 unites

Word got out on Facebook, and the Peabody High School Class of '83 heeded the call: Robert Desmond's daughter was sick. Robert Desmond, who grew up in Peabody and is a Peabody firefighter, hadn't talked to many of his classmates in years. But as soon as they heard the news about Desirae, they sprang into action. Lee Raucci-Merrill raised more than $1,000 with a fundraiser at the Berry Tavern in Danvers, stunning the Desmonds. "It was just a beautiful thing that they did," said Robert Desmond. On Oct. 1, a comedy night will come to the Onion Town Grill in Danvers with four comedians. One of the comics, stage name Joe Espy, is another former classmate of Robert Desmond's. Tickets are being sold for $25 through the Peabody Fire Department. And on Oct. 21, Diane Hughes-Calver — another graduate of the Class of '83 — will host a Fight Night for Desi fundraiser at DiHard Fitness on Pulaski Street in Peabody.

"People are so generous and so kind," said Dawn Desmond. "So many people have been reaching out to see how we're doing." Desirae is expected to go back to school next year, and is looking forward to a trip to Disney World through the Make A Wish Foundation. The past two years have been hard: Dawn and Robert had to stop working, and the months leading up to the transplant had scary moments. "There were some sleepless nights and there were some nightmares," said Dawn Desmond. But ultimately, everyone was "supportive and loving." "We got through it," she said. "And Desirae's doing amazing." To purchase tickets for the comedy night, call the fire department at 978-531-2200.  

Taylor Rapalyea
Author: Taylor Rapalyea
Source: The Salem News
2.5 from 8 votes
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