Mother gives son new life with bone marrow transplant

Mother gives son new life with bone marrow transplant

Naplesnews.com

Thursday, September 20, 2007

He’s only 5 months old and already he’s experiencing a new start in life.

Adam Saada, who was diagnosed in August with a severe immune deficiency when he was 3 months old, underwent a bone marrow transplant earlier this week with his mother, Amy Saada, as his donor.

The first 30 to 90 days are critical in whether he will accept the stem cells in the bone marrow to develop a new immune system and save his life. Adam’s family lives in Naples.

So far, so good, said Steve Tozier, Adam’s grandfather.

“Adam is doing very well,” Tozier said earlier this week, following the transplant that began Tuesday and wrapped up early Wednesday at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.

Adam’s mother was not a perfect donor match but the DNA and other factors were close enough, he said.

She was being discharged from the hospital to an apartment nearby and Adam must stay in the hospital for at least 30 days and possibly up to 90 days, said Sue Buck, Adam’s great aunt.

“Everything seems to be going well,” Buck said. “We’re just keeping our fingers crossed.”

The family is insured but the cost of the transplant, aftercare treatment and medications, along with disruption to the family’s life is a big financial hardship. Donations have been steadily coming in and fundraisers are scheduled to help toward the goal of raising $250,000.

The community already has been generous with $41,000, said Sharon Ardrey, a family friend who has been handling a trust account toward Adam’s medical expenses.

Donations have been coming in from as far as California and Ontario, along with great outpouring locally, Ardrey said.

“It’s been wonderful,” she said.

Adam was born April 3 and was fine until early August when he became sick and was taken to North Naples Hospital. He was flown to Joe DiMaggio Children’s Center in Hollywood, where he was diagnosed with a rare type of pneumonia that only occurs in people with low immune systems.

Shortly afterward, he was diagnosed with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, SCID, and was transferred to Jackson Memorial in Miami. His rare medical disorder is the same as that of David Vetter, the boy in the 1970s who lived in a plastic germ-free bubble for 12 years and became known as “the Bubble Boy.”

The Saada family has linked up with the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA), a national charity dedicated to helping communities organize fundraisers for hometown children who need life-saving transplants.

Adam’s father, Hussam Saada, works at the Pine Ridge Road branch of Wachovia bank and the branch is matching for every $25 that’s donated, Tozier said. His own employer, the Wyndemere Home Owners Association, and its residents have donated at least $15,000, he said. Ardrey said she’s been receiving donation checks nearly every day from Wyndemere residents and they may have donated as much as half of what’s been raised so far.

Amy Saada works for Collier County’s Department of Human Services and has taken a leave of absence Adam’s illness.

A fundraiser will be held in the parking lot of Gina’s Cafe, 11000 Commercial Blvd., on Sunday, Oct. 21, from 2 to 6 p.m.

“They are donating all of the food,” Ardrey said of the cafe, where one of the owner’s sisters has a son who was hospitalized at Jackson Memorial.

Tickets for the buffet are $10 per person and there will be a live band, a clown, crafts and a silent auction, Ardrey said.

Another event is an online Pampered Chef party, where proceeds will go to Adam’s care. The online event is http://www.pamperedchef.biz/melskitchen and enter Sharon Ardrey in Trust for Adam Saada in the space for “organization name.”

Since the family has linked up with COTA, the nonprofit charity is handling donations for him. Tax-deductible checks can be sent to “COTA for Adam S.” at 2051 Cota Drive, Bloomington, Ind., 47403. All the proceeds goes to Adam’s medical expenses, Ardrey said.

To keep up with how he is progressing, visit his Web site, http://www.cotaforadams.com.

© 2007 Naples Daily News and NDN Productions. Published in Naples, Florida, USA by the E.W. Scripps Co.

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