A bone marrow transplant is an incredibly painful and complicated procedure, but two twin brothers were in urgent need of a transplant because of a rare immunodeficiency disease that could have fatal implications.
Santino and Giovanni Demasi were born with the very rare chronic granulomatous disease, causing the immune system in the body to stop working. This means that both brothers would be very susceptible to infections.
Every single infection – however small it may sound – could be lethal for Santino and Giovanni.
The twins, nicknamed Sonny and Gio by their family, had only one hope: a bone marrow transplant. Without a transplant, the baby brothers would have to constantly live in a safe environment making it impossible to lead a normal life.
When they were born at Lankenau Medical Center, they remained in the intensive care unit for over five weeks. They were later transferred to a sterile environment in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
As it turned out, there was only one perfect bone marrow match available: their 4-year-old brother.
The four-year-old Michael has a very strong bond with his baby siblings, and he didn’t hesitate at the opportunity to save them. His parents told Michael that his bone marrow would be a perfect match, and he happily wanted to help his brothers out.
“He was on board since the minute we told him,” mom Robin Pownall told CNN. “He knows it’s going to be a big needle going into his back.”
A bone marrow transplant is incredibly painful. Doctors needed to stick a quite large needle into Michael’s bone to extract the marrow.
When asked if Michael knew how the procedure would work, Robin confirmed that he was very much aware of what he was getting himself into.
“He knows. He’s a very smart boy,” she said. “He’s fearless, and he wants to save them.”
“We were straight up — ‘It’s going to be a big needle going into your back, bud,’” Robin told him. “We asked him, ‘Do you want to do this? If you’re scared, you don’t have to.’”
It’s something that would terrify most children, but Michael was determined to fight through the pain to save his brothers.
“Where you going?” their mom asked Michael before the procedure.
“To save my baby brothers,” he replied. “You’re the best,” mom added.
“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.”
The procedure went as expected with no complications.
“That’s my bone marrow! That’s my bone marrow!” Michael proudly shouted when he visited his brothers after the transplant.
Sonny and Gio had to remain in the hospital for two more months to recover. Robin’s aunt Casey created a GoFundMe page for the family where money is being raised for medical costs. Currently, almost 600 people have donated $31,135 dollars with a goal of $50,000.
“Michael did his procedure this morning for them to take the bone marrow cells,” Michael’s aunt wrote. “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.”
The twins have already been discharged and are now doing well. Mom Robin posted an adorable video on her Facebook profile, showing Michael in a superhero T-shirt along with his two baby siblings.
“Not all heroes wear capes, but he does! Michael is a real life superhero & I could not be any more proud,” she wrote.
“I saved you guys,” Michael said in the video. “It’s time to go home.”
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Not all heroes wear capes, but he does!!!!!!!!!!!!! Michael is a real life super hero & I could not be any more proud 👏💙😘 #michaelourhero #goinghomeboys #hesavedthem Sue Serio Alex Holley FOX 29 Mike Jerrick FOX 29 Shawnette Wilson FOX 29 Tim Furlong Ellen DeGeneres ellentube NBC10 Philadelphia Goodmorning America
Posted by Robin Lynn on Tuesday, May 1, 2018