11-year-old Finds Special Bone Marrow Donor

Monday, December 1st 2008, 6:50 pm
By: News 9

By Amy Lester, NEWS 9

SHAWNEE, Oklahoma -- Tallie Anderson has been fighting a life-threatening medical condition for nearly two years, and finally she's getting good news about a bone marrow donation.

The Anderson family never thought this day would come, the day when a bone marrow donor's tissue type would match their daughter's. After two years, 11-year-old Tallie can get a life- saving bone marrow transplant.

"When I found out, it was like a whole weight was lifted off my shoulders," Tallie's stepmother Leslie Anderson said.

"In a sense it was like we won the lottery. Her finding a match of any sort was kind of limited," Tallie's father Roger Anderson said.

Tallie can hardly believe it herself.

"It was shocking," Tallie said.

Tallie has A-plastic anemia, which means her bone marrow does not function properly, leaving her with practically no immune system. She's undergone treatments for nearly two years.

"I know I have to get better and if I don't like the medicines, I still have to take it. Either it's yucky or not, I have to get healthy," Tallie said.

Knowing a transplant is the only thing that can cure her, Tallie's family encouraged Native Americans to become bone marrow donors. Tallie is of Choctaw descent, and finding a match is very difficult among her community because there are a limited number of Native Americans who are registered donors.

The OU football team even joined the registry to help, but the match actually came from umbilical cord blood, donated and frozen in a cord blood bank.

"I would absolutely encourage people to donate their child's cord blood to one of these banks because it can save children's lives," Dr. Laura Rooms said.

Tallile's family is so thankful for that family's decision to donate cord blood, and Tallie's looking forward to being a kid again.

"Riding my bike, playing 4-square, playing basketball, beating my brother," Tallie said.

She asks everyone to donate cord blood and join the bone marrow registry.

"That would be good for the other children so they could get better," Tallie said.

If everything goes well, Tallie could be cured by the summer.

If you want to learn more about joining the bone marrow registry, you can contact the Oklahoma Blood Institute.