4-year-old donates her bone marrow to save her sick brother

When Colton Land was born on July 24, 2019, his parents were told he was a healthy baby. But just one week later, the results of his standard newborn screening came back and showed something very different.

Go Fund Me Source: Go Fund Me

Colton has a rare disease called severe combined immunodeficiency (or SCID) – you may have heard of it referred to as “bubble boy disease.”

Those who have the genetic defect have no immune system to speak of and have to be completely isolated in order to avoid any infections because their bodies aren’t able to fight them off.

Colton's Journey/Facebook Source: Colton's Journey/Facebook

The diagnosis changed the family’s lives – mom Kayla quit her job as an Executive Administrative Assistant and pulled daughters Krissy, 4, and Khloe, 8, out of school to be home-schooled because they were all afraid of bringing home infections.

Doctors told the Land family that Colton would need a bone marrow transplant in order to save his life.

Colton's Journey/Facebook Source: Colton's Journey/Facebook

The first logical thing to do was to test Colton’s family members and his siblings were the most likely matches. The girls were tested via the Be the Match registry, with just a cheek swab to collect DNA.

Two weeks later the results came in – one girl was a match.

The Lands had been hoping that their 8-year-old, Krissy, would be the match.

“My husband and I were hoping it was our older daughter because she understood and she wanted to be the one to help her little brother,” Kayla Land told Good Morning America.

But it was Khloe, who is only 4.

Colton's Journey/Facebook Source: Colton's Journey/Facebook

“When we found it was Khloe, she was really excited at first and then fear kicked in within about 30 seconds and she broke down and told us how scared she was.”

The parents were faced with the difficult prospect of explaining to a 4-year-old that she was the only person who could save her brother’s life without forcing the situation.

It didn’t take much to get the little girl on board and before the surgery she was looking forward to helping out her baby brother.

“Khloe tells Colton all the time that she’s going to save his life, so she knows that he wouldn’t have a good chance of living if it wasn’t for her.”

Colton's Journey/Facebook Source: Colton's Journey/Facebook

Khloe’s procedure – which involved removing marrow from her back – was invasive but manageable to the point that she got to leave the hospital on the same day. Colton, meanwhile, would be there for at least a month to acclimate to his new cells.

The family had to separate because the hospital performing the procedure and taking care of the baby post-op was in Portland, Oregon, 4 hours away from their home in Koos Bay, and Colton would need another 3 months of monitoring after that.

“Doctors have told us that around one year after transplant he can live a normal life as a kid and be out playing in the dirt and being with other kids,” Kayla Land said.

The family treated both siblings like the heroes they were, even buying Khloe and Colton their own superhero shirts and capes.

via GMA Source: via GMA

And the surgery – which took place in mid-September – was successful. It’ll be a long road for Colton, but he is recovering.

Still, the family has had to find creative ways to cope financially with a one-income household, the mounting medical bills, and living in two separate places. They’ve been the beneficiaries of multiple fundraisers and started a Go Fund Me campaign to help alleviate some of the financial burdens.

On October 14th, Colton was discharged from the hospital, even though he’ll need further care.

As of the family’s latest update, Khloe’s cells were taking over, allowing baby Colton to grow a new immune system and someday lead a normal life.

Colton's Journey/Facebook Source: Colton's Journey/Facebook

You can follow the family’s journey on their Facebook page here.

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Source: Good Morning America, Go Fund Me, Colton’s Journey via Facebook