September 15, 2008

Holbrook Boy Needs Transplant


The first hints that anything was wrong were the bruises, black and blue blotches that appeared on Donovan Sands' small body so often that his teacher once thought he might be abused.

For two years, doctors at Children's Hospital Boston ran tests on the Holbrook boy. But it wasn't until June that they came up with a diagnosis: dyskeratosis congenita, a disease so rare that fewer than 300 people in the world have been diagnosed with it.

"Basically, it's something you're born with that causes bone marrow failure," said Leslie Lehmann, director of pediatric bone marrow transplant at Children's Hospital/Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

The only cure is a bone marrow transplant. But, because doctors have been unable to find a match for Donovan, who is now 8, a bone marrow drive have been scheuled for today at the Weymouth Elks Club at 1197 Washington St.; Sept. 28 at Lasell College, De Witt Hall, 80 Maple St. in Newton; and Oct. 18 at the Belmont Lions Club at 1 Common St. Each drive will be held from noon to 4 p.m.

"I'm petrified he won't find a match," his mother, Tricia McClentic, said. "The thought of losing my baby - I lose sleep."

To find out if they are a match for Donovan, people need to fill out a medical history questionnaire and have a cheek swabbed.

"I'm scared," said Donovan Sands' father Paul. "I don't want to lose my little boy."

Originally published by By MARIE SZANISZLO.

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