When Robin Pownall gave birth to her twins, she was happy to add two more children to her family. She was already a mother of a brave four-year-old boy. His baby brothers, Santino and Giovanni, were born on 14 October 2017.
Although they were born at 33 weeks, their health was fine. But a few days after the birth, the family received shocking news. The babies had Chronic Granulomatous Disease, meaning their immune systems were compromised, and any sickness could be fatal.
A good cure for the disease would be bone marrow, so the family had to get on a donor list. The best donors were from the family, but tests showed none of the parents were matches. However, Michael, their four-year-old boy was a match. The parents were hesitant and conflicted whether to tell Michael about it or even let him take the procedure.
“He’s So Proud”
It was a matter of ethics. How could a four-year-old kid understand what he was willing to do? But Michael wanted to be a hero for his baby brothers. Pownall recalls their conversations:
“We were straight up — ‘It’s going to be a big needle going into your back, bud’. We asked him, ‘Do you want to do this? If you’re scared, you don’t have to.’ Part of me was like, ‘Well, he’s 4. Maybe he doesn’t know what’s going on.’ But he did, and he was all for it. We were in no way, shape or form going to push anything. He was all for it and we had a good feeling about it. It’s amazing — he’s so proud. Such a brave little guy.”
Michael was quite brave! He drank the “giggle juice”, fell asleep and the woke up, insisting he was fine. His aunt stated on their GoFundMe page that Michael was fine after the intervention:
“He is perfectly well, playing and all like nothing happened. Giovanni received the bone marrow cells around 2:30 pm & then Sonny received the bone marrow cells around 5:30 pm. Both babies are doing well and sleeping. Now is time for their bodies to heal, with the new bone marrow cells to build up a healthy immune system.”
Now, Michaels brothers, Giovanni and Santino are perfectly healthy, with no trace of their disease and it’s all thanks to their superhero big brother!
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.