You Won’t Feel Sad With MDS When You Have These 3 Things

While his peers were getting learners’ permits and homecoming tickets, 16-year-old Conner Vollmer was getting an unexpected diagnosis of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).

The pre-cancerous condition is rare, and even more so in people Conner’s age. The diagnosis wasn’t an ideal situation, to say the least, but like wishing on a lamp, Conner was granted three powerful factors that have worked in his favor:

aladdin genie
It’s like having a real-life genie! Source:

1. Proactive parents

Connor’s only visible MDS symptom was a rash. That’s it. Not exactly a damning sign on a kid described as “outdoorsy.” But his parents didn’t wait—they immediately sought a concrete answer behind Conner’s rash, and within a year Connor was correctly diagnosed.

2. Generous siblings

Because MDS is a “bone marrow failure disorder” affecting healthy blood cell creation, bone marrow is naturally the key to treatment. But instead of having to languish on a donor register, Conner found a matching donor right in his own home. His 13-year-old brother, Nolan, gladly offered his marrow to his big brother, and if you look at the picture here, you can just see how tightly that gift has bonded them.

3. Community support

So with diagnosis in one hand and donor in the other, Conner was ready for surgery. And as we all well know, that’s not cheap! To address some of the costs, his family established a benefit event in their hometown. Interest from the community has apparently been staggering, and at the time of writing this, the benefit has already been marked as a huge success.

Conner will spend the summer of 2016 recovering from his operation, and everyone is optimistic about how his MDS diagnosis will pan out–including me!


excited steven universe pumped hell yes its on
Picture of me, probably. Source:

At Patient Worthy, we cover a lot of bittersweet stories about people who make the most out of challenges, who will have to deal with darkness their whole lives.

Those stories are powerful, they’re impactful, they’re informative, but you know? Sometimes, I think it does the heart good to also have a story like Conner’s—one that seems like it’ll have a straight-forward happy ending.

Learn more about MDS from the MDS Foundation

What has been most helpful to you over the course of your journey? Friends? Family? Facts? Discuss below!

Kiki Jones

Kiki Jones

Kiki’s family loves to say, “People are like a baking project. At some point, they’re just done and they’re who they’re going to be.” Well, Kiki still has some baking to do, and she learns a lot from her loved ones living with chronic conditions, including mental illness and Behcet’s disease. With a BA in English, she’s using her skills to tell the stories of people like them.

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