Boy Saved by Blood Donations, Marrow Transplant
“It’s an hour of your time but it can literally save someone’s life.”
Joshua Rich, a fun-loving five-year-old who’s quick to flash you his smile, spent the majority of his childhood on the floors of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
He and his mother, Christine, moved from Atlanta specifically to receive care at the renowned hospital.
Josh was born with a genetic blood disorder called Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis, also known as HLH.
With this condition, patient’s cells of the immune system, primarily T cells and NK cells, don’t work properly to destroy infected or damaged cells as they should, according to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
“There are only a couple of places in the country familiar with HLH and Cincinnati Children’s is the best place for that and for bone marrow transplants so we thought it was a win, win to move here,” said Christine Rich.
Josh received his first bone marrow transplant when he was just a year old. Unfortunately, the first transplant failed and he went through his second shortly after.
Thankfully the second transplant was successful. Side effects brought on by the bone marrow transplant (Graft-Versus- Host Disease), required Josh to undergo treatment called photopheresis, performed by Hoxworth Blood Center therapeutic apheresis staff, for the next two and a half years.
“Joshua was critically ill and he was actually in hospice and we thought he was going to die and the only thing that pulled him back was the treatment,” said Christine.
Josh uses a wheelchair and walker now because he was on bed rest the past two years. While he’s working to get his strength back he’s been known to show off his speed skills with his walker.
He started school in August of 2015, a major milestone, since he’s been in isolation his entire life.
“We had a birthday party this year and we actually got to invite children which has never happened before,” Christine said. “We’ve been able to get passes to the Newport Aquarium and to Kings Island. We are finally getting some normalcy back in our lives.”
Christine is thankful for all the donors who helped save her son’s life.
“Everybody gets busy and we all have our priorities and people don’t think they have time to give but it’s a lifelong investment for those receiving it,” said Christine. “You could give an hour giving blood and you can give someone 60 years.”