Brennan needed four bone marrow transplants before he found his “cure”. In the very special photo above, he stands with his four bone marrow donors. In order of transplant and from left to right:

  1. His brother Nat. Now nearly 18, he was only 10 years old when he donated his “perfect match” bone marrow to Brennan for Transplant #1.
  1. Jake. Then just a senior at Ohio University, Jake was Brennan’s anonymous donor in Transplant #2, a 4 out of 5 match for Brennan’s bone marrow type.
  1. His father Turner. Turner was Brennan’s first “haplo-transplant,” or half-match, something only a parent can provide. But an infection sent this Transplant #3 into a spiral, and he needed yet another one…
  1. His mother Tara. Transplants 1-3 were key to Brennan’s survival up to this point. But Transplant #4 finally did the trick, sending into remission for the past SIX years.

When the anonymous veil was lifted, the Simkins could finally meet the young man whose selfless act provided miracles for their family. Jake’s mother marvels at the incredible photo above,

“There’s a lot of strength in this photo. This one group photo with all 4 of Brennan’s donors-his brother Nat, his father Turner, his mother Tara, and my son Jake-just sort of binds the whole story together. For me, this experience has been about much more than harvesting and replacing blood cells. It has been a reminder of the interconnectedness of humanity, and the responsibility we have to give back. What would the world look like if we each thought of one thing — one big thing — we could do for one other person? It could be the life of a parent, child, sibling, friend. Or, in Jake’s case, it was someone he never even met. In the process of giving bone marrow to Brennan, Jake and I have discovered that we all have the power to change and possibly save a human life. Perhaps our hearts and minds, like fresh new cells, can open up a new world of possibility — both for the one who receives the gift, and for the one who gives. Jake’s gift to Brennan, and in turn, to the Simkins family, didn’t come in a box. It involved no wrapping paper, bows, or trips to the mall. But it’s a present we will all treasure forever. Feeling humbled and blessed-all wrapped up in a gift called “Possibilities”.

Bone marrow transplants require a grueling recovery, and the treatments and possible graft-versus-host disease can leave long-term side effects. But for now, they are our best option against AML. Be the Match is always looking for more donors. To join the National Bone Marrow Registry, order your free cheek swab kit today using the image below.

P.S. Our goals for ACTION are so audacious they literally cannot be achieved without your help. For the entire month of September, every dollar donated to Press On ~ up to $250,000! ~ will be MATCHED for Target Pediatric AML (“TpAML”), a MOONSHOT project aimed at identifying genomic targets for pediatric Acute Myeloid Leukemia patients so that researchers can create specific, targeted treatments. These targeted ~ and consequently less toxic ~ treatments FOR KIDS are what Press On is all about! Please, if you are comfortable doing so, take just a few minutes of your time to DONATE NOW and SHARE today’s blog post on your Facebook page, or share via personal email with friends whom you believe have the passion to help us make a difference.

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