DIGHTON, Mass. (WPRI) ─ A 5-year-old honorary firefighter of the Dighton Fire Department was recently able to thank his bone marrow donor.
Lori Medeiros said their family’s worst nightmare began when her son Grant was just 2 years old.
“They found out he had Acute Myeloid Leukemia in his spine, behind his eye, his legs, his hips,” she said.
Grant underwent many rounds of chemotherapy before he was told he needed a bone marrow transplant, and The Gift of Life Marrow Registry was able to find him a perfect match.
“His name is Graeme,” Grant said. “Graeme gave me some of his blood, his blood is mine now!”
On Sunday, Grant was able to meet his bone marrow donor, Graeme Ossey, 31, of Chicago, during the Gift of Life Marrow Registry’s Steps for Life 5k Run/Walk South Florida.
“He saved our child’s life, he really did,” Lori said. “If it wasn’t for him I don’t know where we would be, we’re forever grateful to him for that.”
Ossey joined the Gift of Life Registry in 2007 and wants others to know the process is simple and important.
“Having at the time, an 8-month-old son, I would hope that if someone else were in this position they’d happily do it for our family,” Ossey said.
After hearing about Grant in 2018, Dighton Fire Chief Christopher Maguy made him an honorary firefighter during the fire department’s annual Touch-a-Truck event. The department raised more than $2,000 to give to Grant’s family.
“What a fantastic moment for Grant and his family,” Maguy said. “We are thrilled that he was able to meet his donor and is doing really well. Grant is a member of our department and everyone here has been following his progress closely.”
In June 2018, fire engines, police cruisers, ambulances and other emergency response vehicles helped escort Grant home from a long stay in the hospital. Maguy said Grant loves fire trucks.
“It’s amazing to watch this little boy be so brave in the face of such a serious illness,” Maguy said. “I think everyone can learn a little something from Grant and his family about how they have faced his health issues head-on and managed to keep a positive attitude throughout.”
Since its start in 1991, the Gift of Life Marrow Registry has coordinated more than 17,000 matches for those with leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell and nearly 100 other diseases resulting in more than 3,500 transplants.