An emotional 1st meeting between a Sickle Cell Disease patient and her life saving Bone Marrow donor
Every year members of the National Marrow Donor Program meet in Minneapolis, Minnesota for an End of Year Council meeting. This was the 20th anniversary of the program with 1100 worldwide members participating including Beverley De-Gale and Orin Lewis, the ACLT Co-founders.
On Sunday 4th November, 2007 at 09.50 (the final day of the meeting) Mrs. Jacqueline Byrd went to the stage to meet her bone marrow recipient 14 year old Paizley Carwell-Bowens and family during this grand occasion. Paizley was born with Sickle Cell Disease. During a standing ovation Jackie approached the stage with her daughter Jaylin. She shared her story about why she joined the National Registry and the donation process.
Jackie explained to the audience that when she learned she was the best matching candidate and she was informed Paizley was the same age as her daughter at this point she knew she had to donate. Jackie stated that this could have been her daughter and that she would have wanted someone to step up and do the same thing. It’s not about self; that donation was about saving the life of a young girl and giving her opportunities for a better life, which is why I donated Bone Marrow.
Dr. Dennis Confer, Chief Medical Officer of the NMDP was on the stage and speechless. He couldn’t wait any longer; he introduced Paizley and her family. Jackie appeared calm until the doors opened and there was Paizley her mother Sue Ann Carwell and little sister Nina. The entire audience stood up and applauded as they approached the stage. Within seconds Jackie, Paizley and Sue Ann embraced each other. There were tears of joy around the entire room.
Sue Ann thanked Jackie for all that she had done for her 14 year old daughter explaining that Paizley had gone through so much over the years and because of you we are standing her today. Paizley surprised everyone by standing at the front of the stage very calmly and reading a thank you letter she had written. You could almost hear a pin drop as she once again had everyone in tears and enthralled by her words of thanks. As of that day (Sunday 4th November) Paizley Carwell-Bowens is Sickle Cell Disease free, continuing with therapy. She has come along way since her transplant 2 years earlier at the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital.
Mrs. Jacqueline Byrd was the principal at Reynolds Lane Elementary School in Jacksonville Florida when she decided to be potential donor on the NMDP in 1995 during the organisations campaign ‘African Americans Uniting for Life. In June 2005 she was identified as a match for Paizley and asked to donate marrow cells in August 2005.
The Jacksonville Marrow Donor Registry did not know that Paizley’s mother is the well known producer song writer Sue Ann Carwell and her step father is Tom Jenkins that plays in the band Cameo. Paizley has served as a poster child for the sickle cell disease Celebrity Bowling Challenge in Los Angeles. If you are living in the USA please consider joining the NMDP Registry and give HOPE to all patients everywhere.