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Lowcountry sisters bonded by "magic marrow"

Sister donating bone marrow to sibling with Sickle Cell disease (Provided)

The American Society of Hematology says only about 70,000 to 100,000 Americans are living with Sickle Cell disease.

One Ridgeville girl was just a month old when she was diagnosed.

If you ask Ashlyn Bell who’s the boss of the house, she’ll reluctantly tell you the truth. “Nahhhuh!”

She’s bubbly and bright, cute and spunky. Four-year-old Alayna gets sad when she thinks about what her sister is facing.

“Sickle Cells,” Alayna said.

They’re too young to really get it, but Alayna is getting ready to help her “Ashy” have a better life.

She’s donating her bone marrow—or magic marrow, as they like to call it.

Both parents carried the Sickle Cell trait.

Ashlyn is the only one of her sisters to inherit it.

“Ashlyn was born with Sickle Cell Anemia Hemoglobin, the children's mother Alexandria Shell said. "That means she has the more severe kind of sickle cell disease. causing her to suffer from chronic pain. Her spleen is partially functional."

“When she was about four months old, right around that stage when they’re like rolling over, all the developmental cues are in place, she had her first pain crisis. It was all lower body,” Shell said.

It landed her in the hospital for four days.

The bone marrow transplant will allow her to live a life without the disease.

“To have a perfect sibling match is a rare thing.” Shell added.

Soon, the “magic marrow” will be transferred to Ashlyn.

Doctors say there’s a 90% chance it will work and could allow Ashlyn to live free of Sickle Cell.

Ashlyn will have to have 24-hour care after the surgery. The family is documenting its journey through social media and asking for any help to cover small cost like parking and food while they’re in the hospital.

Visit the Aspirations for Ashlyn Facebook page to learn more about sickle cell and its impact on the family.

A GoFundMe was launched to help the family raise money as they embark on this journey.

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