Bone marrow drive could save 7-month-old infant’s life

Linda Russell, KY3 News

By Michelle Leroux

Hundreds turned out to help an Ozarks infant diagnosed with what’s often called “bubble boy disease.” Seven month old Granton Bayless of Bolivar suffers from a rare condition called Severe Combined Immuno-deficiency, or SCID. A cure may depend on a stranger.

Granton Bayless was a healthy, bouncing, baby boy- until a couple months ago, when he started to get sick. First, Granton was diagnosed with pneumonia and the dangerous respiratory virus- RSV.
“They couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t getting better,” explains Granton’s grandpa, Todd Schrader.

Granton spent a few days at St. John’s in Springfield, before he was transferred to Children’s Mercy in Kansas City. Finally, doctors discovered he has the rare condition- Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID). “His body won’t produce the T-cells, which are part of your white blood cell count, and he can’t fight off disease,” Schrader explains.

The only known cures for SCID are a cord blood or bone marrow transplant. Neither of Granton’s parents, Daniel or Jenni, are a close enough marrow match. So friends organized a bone marrow drive at Bolivar High School. ” We ordered 1000 kits, and we hope we’re gonna run out of them,” says drive organizer, Clayton McCullah.

To get screened at the bone marrow drive, people simply fill out an information form and swab their mouth, but if they’re a match, the donation process isn’t quite as easy. If someone is a match, there are two ways to donate- one is similar to donating plasma, drawing blood from the arm, which goes though a machine that strains out all the needed cells. The other is more invasive. A hollow needle is used to take liquid bone marrow from the pelvis bones.

“I’ve heard it’s painful, but if I can save someone’s life, it’s worth it,” says Jennifer Whitlock, who came to get screened. “They may not be an exact match for Granton, but there are so many other people that’ll be helped through this process,” says McCullah.

But family and friends are holding out hope that Granton will find his cure. “I keep picturing him in the back yard swinging a baseball bat, so we just gotta have faith, gotta believe- he’s a fighter,” says Schrader.

To see how Granton’s doing, go to http://www.grantonbayless.blogspot.com/

Granton’s family members have also organized five other bone marrow drives in neighboring states. The Bolivar High School drive goes until 7:00 PM Monday. If you missed your chance and would like to become part of the bone marrow registry, go to the link below to have a kit mailed to you.

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