Ryan Dennis

Donors Give Toddler Fighting Chance

"He would not be alive today without the help of blood, platelet and bone marrow donors."

Ryan Dennis was born with a rare genetic condition that, in simple terms, left him without an immune system.

Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) stopped Ryan's body from creating T Cells, needed to fight any germs he came in contact with.

At 3-weeks-old, he started receiving blood transfusions every other week in order to provide him as much protection from viruses as possible.

Baby Ryan Dennis receiving a blood transfusion in a hospital crib

"We have been living in isolation in order to keep him free from any illnesses," said Bridget Dennis, Ryan's mother. "The idea was to keep him as healthy as possible until he could have a bone marrow transplant which would give him a brand new, working, immune system."

On January 21, 2015, an anonymous donor gave Ryan a fighting chance at survival by donating bone marrow. Ryan was just 7-months-old at the time.

While he currently waits in isolation for his immune system to begin working, which could take more than a year, Ryan receives blood and platelet transfusions to keep him as healthy as possible.

"The majority of children with SCID do not live past their first year of life because they usually get some sort of illness and their body has no defense to fight it," said Bridget. "Even the common cold could be deadly to a child with SCID."

Ryan's condition, luckily, was discovered through his newborn screening and his parents and doctors were able to closely monitor him early on.

"I wish that I could find words to truly convey how thankful I am to every single person who has helped save my son's life through their donations," Bridget said. "Sometimes it is so overwhelming to me to think about the thousands of kind, generous and unselfish people that have given a blood or platelet donation for a complete stranger like my son."

"They are truly lifesavers and I am forever grateful for them."