Versiti - Isaac Walker | Impact Stories

Isaac Walker

“I don’t want kids to go through as much pain as I had to.”

Isaac Walker

Isaac Walker has beaten childhood leukemia not once, but twice. In 2010, when Isaac was 2, his mother Fawnda noticed he was running a fever, had a cough, wasn’t eating and was sleeping nearly 20 hours a day. She and her husband Andrew took him to the hospital, where they got the devastating news: Isaac had cancer. 

“I was numb and in complete disbelief,” Fawnda says. “He was in very critical condition. His white blood cell count was at 674,000; the typical diagnosis of leukemia is about 50,000.”

Isaac endured grueling chemotherapy twice a week for three years and received countless blood and platelet transfusions to help keep him strong. Eventually, he went into remission, but his cancer would return when he was 8 years old. That time, his oncologist told him his best hope for survival was a bone marrow transplant.

In 2016, Isaac received a lifesaving transplant from a donor in Texas. “You could see that he started feeling better right away,” Fawnda says. “Before his bone marrow transplant, he went into heart failure from all the chemo he was getting. We almost lost him; it was scary.”

Because the chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant upended his immune system, Isaac receives weekly infusions to boost his body’s production of B cells, which help fight off infections. Though he will likely need to receive these infusions for life, he is an otherwise healthy teenager who is homeschooled and works part-time for a local mechanic—something he hopes to pursue as a career.

These days, Fawnda is grateful for her son’s health and for the blood donors who helped to get him there. “Blood donors helped save my son’s life,” she says.

Impact Stories | Blood Donation

Gia Danninger
Gia was diagnosed with aplastic anemia at 5 years old and received blood transfusions to prepare her body for a bone marrow transplant. Now 11, she’s doing well and her mother, Jenna, is grateful to everyone who helped her daughter.
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