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Blayklie and Steph's Story

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Peanut butter and jelly. That is how 5-year-old Blayklie Knapp from Bentonville, Ark. describes herself and her marrow donor Steph Halpin, 23 of the Bronx, N.Y. Before Blayklie knew that she likes cheerleading, the color pink and anything glittery, she and her family found out that she needed a bone marrow transplant to cure her of her leukemia.

Diagnosed with acute mylogenous leukemia at 18 months old, Blayklie underwent chemotherapy treatment, but it did not work. Within two years, her leukemia returned. Her oncology team in Arkansas referred her to Children’s Health℠ in Dallas for her only chance for a cure - a life-saving marrow transplant.

About the same time Blayklie was diagnosed, Steph was attending school at Converse College in South Carolina. While crossing through the student union building, Steph learned of the campus bone marrow drive. She joined the Be the Match registry. Two years later, she said, “Yes.” Yes to becoming a bone marrow donor to a 3-year-old girl with leukemia. That was all Steph knew. “I have a niece who was 2. I couldn’t imagine not helping out,” Steph said.

Only a month after graduating from college, Steph checked into the hospital for the marrow harvest procedure. “The patient was so little; the doctors did not take much,” she said, “I was just a little achy after waking from anesthesia.”

The Be the Match office kept Steph posted on the patient’s progress. She was warned that it is a long journey from transplant to recovery. So, when Steph was told that the patient had been discharged from the hospital within just a few weeks, she was surprised. A nice surprise as Blayklie recovered from transplant quickly.

A year passed. The donor and patient family were offered the opportunity to communicate. Within a couple months, Blayklie and her family flew to the big city to see the sights and her life-saving donor.

Upon meeting Blayklie gave Steph a matching bracelet and explained to the petite young lady that they were like peanut butter and jelly.

“Blayklie is a magical kid, and I am happy to help encourage others to participate in the Be The Match program to give a child a fair chance at success.”

February is the Children’s Be the Match month. Register to give another person a fair chance at success.

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