Presque Isle Bone Marrow Drive Draws Great Numbers and Support for 2-Month-Old Brylee Gagnon
Boy, when Aroostook County residents decide to do something, they do it in a big way!
On Monday, more than 175 County residents came out to support the family of two-month-old Brylee Ann-Marie Gagnon, who suffers from a life-threatening illness.
The Aroostook Medical Center partnered with the national organization, Be The Match, to hold the local drive, on October 21st, in hopes of helping find a match for a life-saving bone marrow transplant.
Officials from Be The Match had hoped to have 50 new donor registrants, but wound up with 176!
Brylee Gagnon was born at TAMC’s A.R. Gould Memorial Hospital on August 8 to Shandi Page and Chad Gagnon of Presque Isle. When she was ten days old, she was rushed back to TAMC with a fever of 104 degrees. From there, she was taken by LifeFlight to Eastern Maine Medical Center, where she spent nearly a week in the neonatal intensive care unit. It was there doctors determined Brylee had a serious infection in her blood and gastrointestinal tract.
The infant was transferred to Portland to meet with a pediatric gastroenterologist. She spent the next month in the hospital to be certain the infection was completely gone. It was during her hospitalization that doctors diagnosed Brylee with leukocyte adhesion deficiency, a rare disorder that affects the body’s immune system.
According to the family, doctors have given Brylee an 80 percent chance of recovery if she gets a transplant. So far, no donor has been found.
To help in their efforts, family members and friends contacted Be The Match to come to the area to hold a drive, and to TAMC to serve as host.
Brylee’s grandmother, grandfather, mother and two sisters greeted and thanked each potential donor who walked through the doors at the North Street clinic for reaching out to a community family in a time of crisis.
Goals for the event were both to raise awareness about the need for marrow donors and to perhaps find a matching donor for the infant and many other patients. A steady flow of area residents age 18-44 entered TAMC’s North Street Healthcare Facility on Monday and took the first step in potentially saving a life.