Parents’ love for their children is undefinable, so when one falls deathly ill, it can cause them to suffer in unimaginable ways. Luckily, in one case, a 4-year-old hero came to save the day.
On July 24, 2019, Colton Land was born to Kayla and Daniel Land from Coos Bay in Oregon. At birth, the baby appeared to be in good health, but his mother and father soon found out that appearances could be deceiving.
Colton was only one week old when medical professionals found out he had a disorder that weakens the immune system, more specifically, Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID), known colloquially as “bubble boy” disease. This made him hyper-susceptible to infection, and so, he had to be kept in isolation.
To survive, little Colton would need a bone marrow transplant. As a result, his parents tested his two sisters for a gene match.
This included the oldest sister 8-year-old Krissy Land and the youngest, 4-year-old Khloe Land. Although the siblings only had a 25% chance of matching their baby brother, Khloe was exact.
While the toddler agreed and the parents were relieved that there was a chance their newborn could live, they also felt conflicted. Kayla and Daniel were concerned over their little girl going through such a harrowing procedure. The mom expressed:
“She [Khloe] was really excited at first, and then fear kicked in within about 30 seconds and she broke down and told us how scared she was.”
However, the younger sister was determined. The 4-year-old took part in the surgery at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland. She wore a superman dress that her mother had bought her.
The mom explained that Khloe’s cells would be implanted into her brother and would slowly begin building up Colton’s immunity over time. Kayla revealed:
“Doctors have told us that around one year after transplant he can live a normal life as a kid.”
Let us hope that these medical professionals were right and that all three children are enjoying themselves, giggling, and having fun with one another.
The unconditional love between siblings doesn’t stop at Khloe and Colton. Four-year-old Kelsey Vasquez also did the unthinkable for her baby brother Eli Vasquez, born in 2018.
Eli was diagnosed with a genetic disorder, Hurler syndrome, where the body can’t digest sugar due to a lack of the enzymes needed for this specific function.
To elongate his life, the baby would need a blood and bone marrow transplant. This transplant had to be from someone with a complete match and without the defective genetic code that led to his condition. The match just so happened to be his older sister.
Kelsey Vasquez said that after they asked for her consent, she didn’t hesitate to say yes. The mother recalled:
“What she understood the situation by was that her brother had bad blood, hers was good and she was going to give it to him to make him better.”
The surgery took place on November 8, 2019, and in 2020, the mother reported that he is doing incredibly well. If these two sisters’ actions are anything to go by, the love between a family is clearly a powerful healing force.