Baby Born Without Immune System During Pandemic Has Successful Bone Marrow Transplant
When Tiffany Green learned that her one-week-old son was born without an immune system during the coronavirus pandemic, she was “shocked.”
“It was a completely normal pregnancy,” the Strasburg, Virginia resident told Today on Tuesday. “It wasn’t until it was picked up on the heel prick that we found out about his severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID).”
Her son, Parker, has SCID, a disorder that results in a weak immune system susceptible to severe infections, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. It has also been called “bubble boy” disease.
“That was the last thing that was on my mind. I didn’t even know what it was,” Green, 28, said. “People need to know more about this. I never realized how serious it was.”
After his birth in April, Green soon found out that Parker would need to undergo chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. She started sharing their journey on Facebook. “It was really scary,” she said. “The biggest thing for me was having this new baby and looking at him and not really knowing if our time was going to be cut short.”
Though his older sisters, 12-year-old Natalie and 6-year-old Avery should have been bone marrow matches for Parker, they were not and he needed to secure a different donor. At the end of June, he underwent chemotherapy and the bone marrow transplant to give him a new immune system.
The transplant was successful, Green shared. “He is actually 98% donor cells, which means he has 98% of the donor cells and only 2% of his original cells,” the mom said. “He actually took to it very, very well.”
Now, Parker is home safe with his family. “It just feels great having us all under one roof and I finally feel like I got my family back,” Green said. “We’re just trying to make up for all the lost time.”
She added that learning of Parker’s SCID during a global pandemic was “scary” but may have also ended up being a silver lining, given that many people are taking extra precautions to stay healthy.
“The whole world is taking precautions and masking and isolating and social distancing, that helps him,” Green said. “I’m not sure if it was a blessing in disguise or if it was even more scary.”
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.