Family comes first. I learned that the hard way after facing health challenges during my teenage years. You see, many people claimed to be there for me, only to go missing at the greatest time of need. If it was not for my brother’s intervention, I am not sure I would be standing before you today. My brother’s bravery and never-ending solidarity will stand through the test of time as I am unable to think of ways to appropriately thank him for his decision. I had been a happy and healthy child until I started developing all sorts of infections. The symptoms got worse, accompanied by routine tremors of my limbs. After numerous tests, I was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia, one of the rarest diseases in existence.
Aplastic Anema affects an individual’s bone marrow cells, hampering the production of crucial blood cells including white, red blood cells along with platelets. These cells are crucial in the body, where white blood cells fight against infections while their red counterparts are the main transportation agents, carrying oxygen and other things. It means that I got diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, threatening to relegate my budding quality of life. The ailment equally terrified my family and me, giving us sleepless nights for months. These dark times tested my parents’ resolve, not forgetting that there were three other siblings to worry about. After taking medications with negligible changes, the doctor recommended bone marrow transplant, subject to the availability.
It is at this juncture that my older brother rose to the occasion, offering himself as a prospective donor. With just four years separating us, it is evident that my brother was also a minor, putting himself in grave danger. Bone marrow transplants are risky endeavors, particularly with the chance that the introduced cells may attack the rest of the body. If that is not enough, my brother did not require any push from my parents, using his basic instincts to try and save the day. My brother displayed enormous bravery in putting himself at the crosshairs, particularly with the sensitive nature of tests, not forgetting the extraction of sufficient bone marrow cells from the body. The process would also require his short stay at the hospital, which is no small feat by a hot-blooded teenager. Unlike me, he was a jovial personality liked by many, especially the opposite sex. I shuddered at the thought of his bully group of friends blaming me if anything bad happened to him.
Within weeks, my brother and I were declared ready for the operation. The situation was tricky since I worried more about his safety than my impending recovery. I am grateful for his assurance and optimism that all would be well, even recommending the presence of a religious leader to set us before the eyes of the Lord. My brother took his admission with pride, buoyed by his numerous visitors that laughed and giggled by his bedside. It was amazing that my brother could crack jokes even hours before the operation compared to my solitude that was only interrupted by my parents;’ presence. The operation was uneventful and was followed by regular hospital visits to assess the scale of recovery. The doctor could not hide his joy with the positive health outcomes, complemented by the availability of a well-matching donor. It is now ten years since the ordeal and I am still not taking for granted the gift of family. Cheers to my brother.