Boston, Massachusetts 2020-09-24 12:13:02 –
METHUEN, MASS. (WHDH) – A 10-year-old Methuen boy with a rare brain disorder recently got the chance to thank a stranger who saved his life by donating her bone marrow.
Grady Smith was diagnosed two years ago with adrenoleukodystrophy, or ALD, a rare genetic condition that Boston Children’s Hospital says causes the buildup of very long chain fatty acids in the brain.
A bone marrow transplant was Grady’s best chance at survival and to help the progression of the disease.
His parents, Jeff Smith, a Methuen police officer, and Jillian Smith, who worked at Holy Family Hospital in the emergency room for 14 years, partnered with DKMS to find a matching donor for Grady.
Jessica Carroll, 28, of Southfield, Michigan, had joined the DKMS registry in 2014 as a college student and received a call four years later that she was a match for a young boy.
Carroll didn’t hesitate to donate her bone marrow on Sept. 19, 2018 to save Grady’s life.
Grady and his family met Carroll in an emotional first-time virtual meeting last week as part of the DKMS annual gala event.
Actor Hugh Jackman even surprised Grady, who is a big fan of Wolverine in X-Men.
Grady’s disease has not progressed any further since the transplant, which DKMS says doctors expect will stay this way, but he does have auditory processing issues which were triggered by the ALD.
Although he can have a hard time hearing and speaking, he was still able to tell Carroll, “Thank you for saving my life.”
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