Tendoh Timoh enjoys a life free of the debilitating effects of sickle cell disease thanks to a blood and marrow transplant (BMT) he received at the Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
In some cases, such as Tendoh’s, a BMT can cure sickle cell disease by replacing the sickle cells with healthy cells from a donor.
At 6 months old, Tendoh was diagnosed with sickle cell disease. Growing up, Tendoh endured numerous painful conditions, including asplenism, acute chest syndrome, numerous infections and a hip replacement.
As a result of his condition, Tendoh could not participate in any sports and was absent from school at least a third of each academic year. Tendoh’s condition also placed burden on his mother and siblings who had to care for him throughout his painful episodes and frequent hospital admissions.
Things changed when, at the age of 17, Tendoh received a BMT. His brother, Patrick, was the donor. The recovery process was arduous; Tendoh missed the first semester of his senior year because of the immunosuppressive drugs he was taking, and he had a difficult time dealing with the side effects from the chemotherapy. However, he said the physicians and staff at the Aflac Cancer Center never failed to lift his spirits when he was feeling down.
Tendoh’s successful BMT not only improved his health, but also lessened the burden on his family and gave him the liberty to attend school and achieve both physical and academic goals.
Tendoh recently finished his second year of medical school at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He has not decided what area of medicine he wants to specialize in, though he is considering oncology.