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Dayton Children’s bone and marrow transplant program

Thomas, 14, was diagnosed with leukemia in November 2018. He was referred to the Dayton Children’s hematology/oncology team where he  went through his first round of treatment. After more than a year of being cancer-free, Thomas relapsed in February 2020. In March, after finishing his first round of chemotherapy, his care team, comprised of Jordan Wright, MD, and Ayman El-Sheikh, MD, recommended a bone marrow transplant.

Through a partnership with Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Dayton Children’s was able to offer Thomas and his family a one program, two campus approach to his transplant. Nationwide Children’s is ranked as one of the top ten children’s hospitals for treating childhood cancer according to U.S. News and World Report and is only an hour away from Dayton Children’s main campus. The Dayton Children’s team worked closely with Nationwide to create a personalized transplant plan for Thomas.

the transplant process

Thomas didn’t have to look far for his donor, his brother, Fred, was a match.

In April, Thomas and his family traveled to Nationwide for the bone marrow transplant. To make an already difficult situation even more complex, Thomas and his family had to navigate the new visitor restrictions and protocols in place to respond to COVID-19. Thomas spent a month in the hospital recovering while his parents took turns staying with him throughout the week.

The best part of the partnership between Nationwide and Dayton Children’s is that all of Thomas’ care returned close to home once the transplant procedure and recovery were complete. And, they had the help of Jani Rice, the bone marrow transplant coordinator at Dayton Children’s, to help navigate their care.

“For any parent that goes through the transplant process, it’s unknown territory. It’s hard to talk to anyone that has gone through it and it can get very overwhelming with so many medications, tests and doctors,” said Joni, Thomas’ mom. “I don’t know how we would have gotten through this without Jani. She always answers her phone, answers all my questions and reassures us. We couldn’t do this without someone like Jani on our side.”

Four months after his transplant, Thomas is doing great and his mom says that he is gradually improving. He’s back home and sees his care team at Dayton Children’s every two weeks to monitor his progress and recovery. The teams at Nationwide and Dayton Children’s are optimistic about Thomas’ future.

Learn more about Dayton Children’s bone and marrow transplant program.