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Little Rock Hospital Helps Boy Beat Rare Bone Marrow Disease

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

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You can't tell by looking at him, but Emiliano Garcia-Fuentes and his family fought, and beat an extremely rare disease.

"It's very rare," the boys father, Guillermo Garcia-Quintero says. "It's actually four people in a million that would get it."

Emiliano's struggle started in 2007, with seemingly mild symptoms.

"(I was) tired," he says. "My head ached, and I had fever."

"We just took him to the doctor thinking it's a little infection or something," Garcia-Quintero says.

Doctors discovered the 4 year old's blood had no platelets, and no red or white blood cells.

"We didn't know what to do," his father says. "We didn't know what we were facing, so it was really devastating for us to think that our kid had something really really bad."

Emiliano was sent to Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock, where he was diagnosed with severe Aplastic Anemia.

"Basically his bone marrow stopped working," his father says.

And with no immune system, Emiliano started aggressive treatment that caused him to gain extreme weight and grow extra hair.

"He had a lot of complications," Garcia-Quintero says. "He had a port in his chest, he had a lot of surgery a lot of medication... It was a very traumatic process for him."

"I had to stay in bed most of the time," Emiliano says. "I couldn't play with my brother. I couldn't go outside. I couldn't do anything."

The initial treatment didn't work, and Emiliano's body rejected a bone marrow transplant.

"That's a horrible feeling," Garcia-Quintero says. "We had all our hopes in that transplant."

Doctors decided to try a second transplant, this time using Emiliano's father as the donor.

"We were having all our hopes and prayers for this to work," Garcia-Quintero says. "Which thank God it did, it really did."

Now at age 8, Emiliano is healthy and active.

"It's amazing that I had a chance to give life again to my kid," Garcia-Quintero says. "I would do it for anybody. I can tell you know, I would do it for anybody that needs it."

Garcia-Quintero now works with the National Marrow Donor Program, and on Thursday he is holding a bone marrow registration drive at the David Glass Technology Center in Bentonville from 9-2, hoping to get people to register as donors.

The Arkansas Children's Hospital is hosting its 19th annual Will Golf for Kids Tournament, and its Color of Hope Gala on August 9 and 10. The golf tournament will be held in Bella Vista, and the gala is in Rogers. For more information visit http://www.willgolf4kids.org.

Author: By Kyle Leyenberger
Source: Arkansas matters
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1.0 from 3 votes
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