Everything’s Coming Up Roses for Lilly, She Beat Aplastic Anemia

A little more than a year ago, a little girl in Michigan was critically ill. Doctors were hopeful they could help her, but there were no guarantees.

Lilly Vanden Bosch, then 10 years old, was suffering from aplastic anemia.

This is a rare blood disorder that occurs when the patient’s bone marrow doesn’t make enough red blood cells. It can be the result of a number of different things, such as a viral infection, an autoimmune disease, exposure to radiation, or chemotherapy—but some cases are spontaneous.

For Lilly, salvation came in the form of a bone marrow/stem cell transplant.

This is not an easy process. First, a donor had to be found—one who was as close to an 100% match as possible. This would give Lilly the greatest chance of success. Then, her immune system had to be completely wiped out, and she had to remain in an absolutely sterile environment.

Fortunately, all criteria was met. A donor was found, and Lilly underwent the transplant, which was deemed a success.

But another curve ball was headed straight for her.

She contracted a CMV virus, and her life, once again, hung in the balance. The only option available to Lilly was a clinical trial in New York City. She and her parents immediately packed their bags and hit the road.

Luck was with her yet again, and the treatment she received knocked out the virus.

Today, Lilly is a happy, healthy 11-year-old who enjoys school, playing with her friends, and spending time with her parents. They are very grateful for second and third chances and urge people to enroll in the National Bone Marrow Registry. You might just help save a life.

Erica Zahn

Erica Zahn

Erica Zahn is passionate about raising awareness of rare diseases and disorders and helping people connect with the resources that may ease their journey. Erica has been a caregiver, and is a patient, herself, so she completely relates to the rare disease community--on a deeply personal level.

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