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“Awesome!” was the sentiment expressed by one person and echoed throughout Shelby County on Wednesday as the news of 8-month old Addison Miles’ successful bone marrow transplant procedure circulated around the community.
“It’s time to pray some more for this beautiful infant and her family,” said Gary Walls, who has been following the baby’s progress through her ordeal with leukemia, a battle she has been waging since March.
Since then, except for a handful of days, Addison, daughter of Daniel and Rachel Miles of Finchville, has been hospitalized at Kosair Children’s Hospital, where, after an extensive series of tests, a team of experts determined that her only hope of survival was a bone marrow transplant.
“We are so very grateful to the donor for giving Addison this gift and pray that he has God’s blessings always in his life,” said Jennifer Ratteman, the child’s aunt. “As I was traveling home tonight, I saw a double rainbow in the sky. What a beautiful sign of God’s promise on this day for both Addison and her donor.”
The road to get to the transplant, which took place Wednesday, was a long one, involving a community-wide effort, spearheaded by the Miles family, to organize two bone marrow registry drives, one in Louisville and one at Shelby Christian Church, that drew more than 1,100 people collectively who showed up to do what they could to try to help save the child’s life.
The little girl has had to overcome one obstacle after another with the disease, said her grandfather, David Miles, who has been keeping The Sentinel-Newsapprised of the child’s progress.
And on Wednesday, one more hurdle was cleared after the procedure was completed and all had gone well.
Miles said the bone marrow was collected from the donor Tuesday night, and doctors immediately set to work to prepare it to be transplanted into Addison, a procedure that took place at 10:30 Wednesday morning.
“We are all very excited and hopeful, because the procedure went exactly as the doctors had hoped,” he said.
Miles said the actual procedure was kind of anticlimactic. After waiting for months and going through two bone marrow registration drives to find a donor and then having to wait for several more weeks for Addison to get well enough to tolerate the surgery, the entire thing was over almost before they knew it.
“The actual procedure took only fourteen minutes,” he said.
But though the procedure did not take long, it was packed with emotion, Ratteman said, and made even more special by the medical team, who sang Happy Transplant Day to the tune of Happy Birthday, a song very appropriate, since the small vial of bone marrow stem cells represented life for Addison.
“Daniel and Rachel had many emotions running them today, but foremost, they were excited and hopeful to have a healthy, new beginning for their sweet princess,” she said.
Miles said the doctors had told the family that it would be at least 100 days before they will know if the transplant is a success. Addison will get to go home in 30 days if all goes well, he said.
“The doctors are being very optimistic,” he said. “We’re hoping that if things continue to go well, her white count will be up enough in a month for her to come home. After that, she’ll have to go back for tests, of course, and she’ll have to be on anti-rejection drugs for a while, maybe for the rest of her life. But as Danny just said, it is in God’s hands now.”
Miles said the family plans to hold still another bone marrow drive, in an effort to get even more people to join the bone marrow donor registry, so other families will get to experience the same joy they have found from having the life of a loved one saved.
“We don’t want to ever lose sight of that,” he said.