ORLANDO, Fla. - A Central Florida family’s healthy newborn son was a double blessing when the child ended up becoming the saving grace for their 2-year-old son.
Grant Gibbens was diagnosed with leukemia and needed a bone marrow transplant.
The 2-year-old was full of life Monday as he pushed his toy yellow school bus with nurses, played with toy cars and wandered down the halls of Florida Hospital for Children.
But he didn't always have that kind of energy.
For the majority of his life, Grant has been sick.
What started with just a fever, symptoms of a cold and a runny nose led to a hospital visit late last year where his parents received the news they never could've imagined.
“Within hours we found that he had leukemia,” the child’s father, John Gibbens, said.
Grant was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, also known as child leukemia.
It’s a rare form of cancer with less than 150 cases reported a year nationwide.
“He had severe lymph node swelling. In addition, he had a large mass in his chest,” Gibbens said.
Two days later, Grant started chemotherapy.
By Christmas he was in remission, but the cancer returned four months later.
The family's only option: a bone marrow transplant.
Grant wasn't even a year old yet when he was diagnosed with leukemia, but his bone marrow transplant donor was already on the way.
“Wyatt came kind of unexpected, honestly. We weren't trying to get pregnant at the time. Having him be a perfect match is pretty amazing,” Jessica Gibbens, the boys’ mother, said.
Wyatt wanted to get to know his brother so badly, he came into the world with a gift.
Wyatt's bone marrow was a match, and all he had to do was be born, to donate.
“We were lucky because, we were able to use umbilical cord blood, so it was actually not invasive for Wyatt,” said John Gibbens.
Dr. David Shook said Grant is in full remission, all thanks to a team of doctors, his parents and the little brother who showed up just in time.
“The day he was born, I realized I could not love anything or anyone any more than I love my kids,” said Gibbens.
Grant has to go in for checkups every week, but those checkups will eventually space out even more if doctors don’t see any signs of the cancer returning.
His parents said once the child is feeling 100 percent, they are going to take him to Disney World because he is a big fan of Mickey.
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