COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A 6-year-old Midlands boy who is fighting leukemia will receive a life-saving bone marrow donation from his 3-year-old sister next month.
Jayden Watts, a first grader at Caughman Road Elementary School, was diagnosed with leukemia at age 4. After a remission period of 19 months, the family learned in September that the disease had returned, forcing Jayden to immediately begin chemotherapy.
"His whole journey has just been a ride," said Jayden's father, Joey Watts.
Joey says the first of his 5 children never had it easy. Jayden was born with club feet, and a collapsed lung. A few years later, he was diagnosed with autism.
"All that was hurdles, then he got diagnosed with cancer," said Joey. "Then we looked back, and the hurdles that were there were actually just speed bumps."
The chemotherapy will be followed by radiation, two surgeries and a bone marrow transplant in December at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.
That's when Caroline Watts will donate her bone marrow to help her big brother get better.
"It was a little tough on us, but the doctor said the recovery time will be short for her, but just her having to go through it is real tough," said Joey.
Jayden's parents welcome prayers and community support to help with the medical costs they have incurred. Jayden will undergo months of monitoring and will be traveling back and forth to Charleston after the surgery.
If you would like to help Jayden and his family, you can purchase "Jayden's Journey" bracelets for $1.00 or more from Caughman Road Elementary School, or send a check or cash to Jayden's Journey in care of the school at 7725 Caughman Road, Columbia, SC 29209.
Community members also may show their support for Jayden and his family and get updates on his progress at www.facebook.com/jaydensjourney461.
Nursing students at Midlands Technical College have teamed up with families like Jayden's to hold a community bone marrow registry drive on Monday, November 11 from 9:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. in room 149 of the Health Sciences Building on Midlands Tech's Airport Campus.