5-year-old "Marrow Man" helps save sister's life
A central Indiana boy considers himself a superhero, knowing that he saved his little sister's life.
We introduced you to the Kessler kids in Shelbyville last year. Three-year-old Samantha was very sick. But her brother, Jameson, vowed to save the day.
He calls himself "Marrow Man."
Now, he's celebrating mission accomplished.
Sometimes, the biggest heroes come in the smallest of packages. And the best gifts are those that are shared. Jameson Kessler, who celebrated his 5th birthday Wednesday, also celebrated giving the gift of life, saving his sister Samantha.
"I helped her be better. She used to be sick," Jameson said.
We first met Jameson last year - the little guy in the skeleton costume, who called himself "Marrow Man."
"Because I gave her my bone marrow," Jameson explained. "I'm the only one that has the same bone marrow as Sammy."
Samantha had two rare blood disorders. Her life expectancy was only 40 years. The only cure was a bone marrow transplant and Jameson was a perfect match.
At Cincinnati Children's Hospital in October, Jameson wore his "Marrow Man" costume for the procedure.
"He was so excited," said Jameson and Samantha's mom, Kyrie Kessler. "He was running through the hallways with his cape flying behind him. He was chatting up all the nurses, telling them he was gonna save Sam."
"I had to get a little poke in my back," Jameson explained about the donation. "Two pokes!"
"He was quite the superhero. He was very brave," Kyrie said.
"Yeah, I didn't even cry," Jameson said.
"I didn't cry either," Samantha chimed in.
The procedure was risky. Samantha's body could have rejected his cells. Complications and infections were dangers, too, for several months after the transplant.
Those eight months of recovery weren't always easy. The Kesslers made many trips back and forth to the hospital and Samantha dealt with some weight loss and sickness issues.
But doctors say now, Samantha is fully healed.
"She's completely healthy. It was quite the miracle. And I give the doctors some credit, but it was...it was all him," Kyrie said of her son.
A superhero - with the power to heal.
The Kesslers say Samantha was just approved for a wish through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. She'll meet with volunteers in a couple of weeks. Right now, she's deciding between two wishes - go to Disney World or swim with dolphins.
Of course, her hero - her big brother - will get to go too.
Learn more about bone marrow donation and how to join the registry and potentially save a life through the Indiana Blood Center's website.