OSWEGO, IL -- David Calixto is described by his mom as your typical four-year-old.
He loves video games. Batman. Playing with his four other siblings.
But unlike many others, he’s been diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a disease in which the bone marrow and the blood cells that reside there are damaged and causes a deficiency of the three blood cells.
David was diagnosed in August 2013 after his mom, Sandra, began to notice a difference in her second-youngest child. He was tired all the time. Cold. Pale.
He underwent immunosuppressive therapy (ATG chemo + cyclosporine), but when there were no improvements it was decided David would need a bone marrow transplant.
“None of my other children were a match for David,” said Sandra. “It was devastating. What were we going to do?”
Calixto said many donors in the bone marrow registry are white, which makes it harder to find a match for her son, who is white and Mexican.
But fortunately a match was found for David in the bone marrow registry – three, in fact.
“One day when he was in the hospital getting a transfusion we found that there was a match. The hospital moved forward with one and he agreed to donate.”
The family doesn’t know much about their donor, whom Calixto said was found by the “Grace of God,” other than that he’s in the military. In about a year though they hope to meet the donor.
David has been in and out of the hospital regularly for blood and platelet transfusions, and on Dec.11 was admitted to Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago for the bone marrow transplant.
Calixto said that as of now David still hasn’t reached the point where the bone marrow has taken over and is working, but it can take up to three weeks to work.
“Right now it’s too early to tell,” she said. “Every single day they do labs.”
Her son cannot leave his hospital room at all due to his very low immune system.
“He understands we’re doing this because we want the transplant to work,” she said. “But it’s not very much fun for a four-year-old.”
She said the regimen of drugs her son is on have led to personality changes and mood swings.
After about two more weeks David will be moved to the Ronald McDonald House where he’ll stay for about three more months while he recovers.
His mom has been staying with him at Lurie Children’s and will stay with him at Ronald McDonald while her husband travels back and fourth and watches the couple’s four other children.
The family is raising money through a GoFundMe campaign to help with hospital and travel costs as well as daily living expenses. So far they have raised $5,800 of their $7,000 goal to help cover some expenses.
“David is just your typical active child,” said Calixto. “And hopefully he’ll be feeling like himself soon.”