As parents, we easily admit that we would do anything for our children. We’ll fight as hard as we can to keep them safe, defend them until the very end, and even sacrifice our lives for theirs.
Tina Boileau knows what it is like to fiercely love a child. Her son, Jonathan Pitre, was born with an extremely rare skin condition that covers his entire body in blisters. The condition is known as epidermolysis bullosa (EB). Caring for Jonathan is difficult, as it is hard for him to move, bathe, or do pretty much anything without being in extreme pain. Those who suffer from epidermolysis bullosa often lose their lives to skin cancer when they are quite young.
Jonathan and his mother became aware of a dangerous, but potentially life changing stem cell procedure right around Jonathan’s 16th birthday. Basically, Tina would donate her stem cells to Jonathan, replacing his white blood cells with her own, helping to repair his skin. The procedure has been performed on 30 children so far, and 8 of them unfortunately died from infections. The others, though, have seen incredible improvements to their skin and healing.
Tina knew that if this procedure worked for Jonathan, his daily life could be so much better. The two decided to go for it.
“Right now, if we don’t do anything, I may not live to be 20. Maybe 18 even. So my time really is running short…Hopefully, my quality of life will improve, that’s the number one thing. We know it’s not a cure." Jonathan said.
Doctors extracted Tina’s bone marrow and injected the stem cells into Jonathan. It took months for Tina to donate all of the skin, blood, and bone marrow necessary to help Jonathan. Then, all they had to do was wait and see.
Thankfully, the operation worked!
"Jonathan is officially growing my cells! The donor study tests show he has 100% my cells, which means the transplant and engraftment is working! That said, however, his cells can't all be mine - he needs to grow some of his own back so the two can become a happy blend." Tina wrote on her Facebook page.
This was especially exciting news for the family as Jonathan’s first stem cell transplant in November was unsuccessful. They discovered the good news right around Mother’s Day, which was the best gift Tina could have ever asked for.
Jonathan is in recovery, and was able to talk a walk around the hospital when he was feeling better. Now, doctors will keep a close eye on the teen to make sure there aren’t any infections that may come up right after surgery.
Like Jonathan said, the family knows the surgery was not a cure, but it is definitely a step in the right direction to help him lead a more pain-free life. It is beautiful to see a mother who would do literally anything for her son.
We wish this family all the best and hope that Jonathan continues to recover well.
What do you think of what Tina did for her son?