Lowcountry infant with rare disease needs a blood stem cell donor

Lowcountry infant with rare disease needs a blood stem cell donor
Isabella needs a blood stem cell donor (Source: Live5)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A nine-month-old infant who lives in the Charleston area needs your help.

Isabella Mahoney lives in the Charleston area, was born eight weeks early and has Neutrophil Immunodeficiency Syndrome.

“She has a mutation on her Rac2 gene which gives her a low immune system and the function of her immune system is low as well,” her father, Brenden Mahoney, said. Neutrophil Immunodeficiency Syndrome is a rare disease that makes Isabella highly at risk for infection.

She receives IVIG treatments twice a month to boost her immune system, but this alone will not be enough for her long term. A blood stem cell transplant is needed in hopes to give her a brand-new, functioning immune system. However, there are currently no perfect matches for her on the Be The Match Registry.

“We just need the public’s help to save our little munchkin and save all others in need of transplants," Heather Mahoney, Isabella’s mother, said.

Getting on the registry is quick, easy and free.

“It’s a simple cheek swab,” representative with Be The Match, Lauren Mueller, said. "It’s like 10 minutes of your time and you could potentially be a life saving match for a patient in need like Isabella.”

Anyone can sign up, but Be The Match is especially looking for people who are between 18-44 years old. Mueller also said they are looking for more diverse donors to get on the registry.

“If you’re a patient in need, you’re more likely to match with a donor who share your similar ethnic background. So for an African American-searching patient, they have as low as a 23 percent chance of finding a perfect match on the registry," Mueller added.

Heather Mahoney also said there are misconceptions about matching blood types.

“Blood type does not matter," she said. “A lot of people think that your blood type has to match your donor. Isabella will actually take over the blood type of her donor.”

Click Join.BeTheMatch.org/SaveIsabella to join the registry. You will register, Be The Match will mail you two cheek swabs with all the instructions and then you return the swabs at no cost. The company will contact you if you are a match.

The Mahoney’s are also working with Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA). They estimate the cost of Isabella’s transplant will be over $500,000, and COTA is helping the family raise money for her transplant-related expenses on COTAforTeamBella.com.

All donations are tax deductible and 100 percent of money raised covers Isabella’s treatment.

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