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January 28, 2010

Montalba girl getting bone marrow transplant

After a year and a half of waiting for a bone marrow transplant, little Emma Routh has finally found her perfect match.

“She’s getting her transplant today,” excited grandmother Susan Morton said Wednesday. “She’ll be 5 years old next Wednesday, Feb. 3. What better birthday present?”

The 4-year-old Montalba girl was diagnosed with Fanconi Anemia in June 2008. The rare blood disorder is an inherited anemia that leads to bone marrow failure. It causes her blood cells to make improper cells. Though primarily a blood disease, FA can affect all systems in the body and lead to other types of cancers.

In December the family found out that there were three perfect donor matches for Emma. The first donor backed out but the second one was willing to donate after Christmas, Emma’s mother Brandy Routh said in a telephone interview with the Herald-Press Wednesday.

Doctors at Children’s Hospital in Boston told the Rouths to have Emma there on Jan. 4 to prepare for the transplant.

“We signed up for an experimental type of transplant where she won’t have any radiation,” Brandy said.

The past week has been rough on Emma as she has endured six days of chemotherapy.

“She’s had 20 doses of three different kinds of chemo in six days,” Brandy explained. “She finished Sunday with the chemo.”

Doctors from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, which partners with Children’s Hospital in Boston, are doing Emma’s bone marrow transplant which was scheduled to begin Wednesday afternoon. The family was told that the transplant procedure would take 12 hours.

“Her spirits are good,” Brandy said about her little girl. “After last night, she’s terrified. At about 9 p.m. last night she got a big blood blister about the size of a golf ball inside her mouth and it burst. She flipped out. It was horrible. She’s had so much chemo. It’s normal to get blood blisters but not to this extent.”

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