Graduating from high school this spring is a big step for Sonia Longoria. A bigger step was deciding to get a bone marrow transplant to cure her beta thalassemia major.
Thalassemia major is a genetic disorder that causes Sonia to have make fewer circulating red blood cells than normal, which results in severe anemia and monthly blood transfusions to survive. Sonia and her family have traveled two hours each way to Children’s Health Children's Medical Center Dallas from her home in Bonham for monthly blood transfusions.
However, the chronic transfusions cause a buildup in iron which requires daily medicine to chelate (reduce) the iron level. This medication makes Sonia nauseated and at risk for more severe side effects for which monthly monitoring is required. So despite doing very well with her transfusions and chelation, as an adult, Sonia decided to seek a cure through a bone marrow transplant. Though she has three younger siblings, Sonia does not have a match and has not been able to find an unrelated donor.