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Local boy celebrates 10-year anniversary of bone marrow transplant

Updated: Saturday, August 9 2014, 12:02 AM CDT
BEAUMONT - by Lauren Huet

A Southeast Texas family and community is celebrating the ten year anniversary of a bone marrow transplant for a boy from Mauriceville. Trace Shannon was diagnosed with leukemia when he was almost two years old. He and his family are spreading the word that donations save lives.

"We wanted to give him a fishing pole to congratulate him," said Benita Davis with Be The Match, as she handed Trace a new fishing pole. "Congratulate him, celebrate that ten years."

Trace is twelve and he loves to fish.

"Fish, play the saxophone, and play video games," said Trace.

Today he's the guest of honor at LifeShare Blood Centers. There's cake and punch to celebrate how far he's come in ten years.

"Ten years ago today Trace was in the hospital in Houston going through preparation for a bone marrow transplant," said his mom, Lorraine Shannon.

Trace was 21 months old when doctors diagnosed him with leukemia. He received a bone marrow transplant when he was two and a half years old, August 20, 2004.

"It's scary," said Shannon. "I mean no parent expects to hear that regarding their child, especially a child that's very small."

When his mom looks at an old album filled with news articles and pictures of Trace, it transports her back to that time.

"Just remembering the emotions associated with all this," said Shannon. "Waiting for the donor, because at that time the doctors didn't want to guarantee anything. Even if they'd find the match for Trace."

She wants to spread the message, donating bone marrow saves lives.

"And I know from being there how much that means to other families," said Shannon, "and we just want to say thank you to anyone who came and stood in line and helped us, and to those who are helping others today. It is so very important. It really does save a life."

Be The Match is always looking for new donors.

"They can actually come by," said Benita Davis with Be The Match, "LifeShare has the kits here, or they can go online, bethematch.org, and there's a tab there that says 'join now.' They fill out the information, we mail them the swab, and they mail them back."

Trace says he'd be happy to donate.

"Because if somebody saved my life, I would like to save someone else's life," said Trace.

"He's here because of a community effort, because of God, and because of great medicine, great people," said Shannon.

Celebrating ten years of life and the gift that made it possible.

Be The Match says the survival rate after receiving a transplant is increasing, but it also depends on age, diagnosis, and other factors. Today, if you average all of those factors, 60 percent survive for five years or more after transplant.
Local boy celebrates 10-year anniversary of bone marrow transplant


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