Happy 5 Years, Miabelle!



People celebrate birthdays, half-birthdays, anniversaries, even monthaverseries but very few celebrate a re-birthday. It’s been five years since Miabelle underwent a bone marrow transplant, and in those five years she has learned, grown, and lived a beautiful life. There is so much to celebrate; each step is its own milestone, and to see Miabelle so happy and healthy fills all of us with hope for a better future, one free from the terrible illnesses that require a bone marrow transplant.

 

Things were different in 2011, though. At just 11 months old, Miabelle was overcome by high fevers and stomach issues, and she cried constantly. Her parents took her to the local hospital where doctors were confounded as to what was ailing the tiny girl. After three visits it was clear: this was something serious. Miabelle’s doctor told her parents that there were three possible diagnoses: 1) cancer, 2) a blood illness, or 3) HLH. When Miabelle’s father, Olivier, asked which of the three they should hope for, the doctor said “Between the three… cancer is your best option.” Olivier replied, “If cancer is the best option, which is the worst?” Reluctantly, the doctor replied, “HLH.” Just a few hours later, after a vast amount of testing, it was confirmed: Miabelle had HLH. The doctors worked fast, and Miabelle was scheduled for her first bout of chemo the next day, her very first birthday.

You can see why birthdays are kind of a big deal for Miabelle and her family. After her diagnosis it became clear that the only chance for Miabelle was a bone marrow transplant. Miabelle’s family moved to Cincinnati, and treatment continued. They worked hard to recruit new bone marrow donors both at home and abroad, totalling about 13,000 potential matches. Miabelle received her bone marrow transplant on July 3, 2011, and lived in isolation for almost 9 months after her transplant. Slowly, gradually, the healthy stem cells regenerated, and her fitness improved.

 

Today we congratulate Miabelle on her strength and determination. We also want to thank her father, Olivier, who is a Board Member at The Icla da Silva Foundation, for sharing his and Miabelle’s story, and for giving hope to those who still search for their marrow match.