The Main Stream

Aug 20, 2012 2:04 AM by Sam Salzwedel

Tucson girl finds rare donor match

TUCSON - A teen with a rare blood disorder has found a donor match.

Lizzie Bell's family almost lost hope they would ever find anybody. They have been looking since she was born 18 years ago.

"We never even thought about having a marrow transplant for Lizzie," her mom, Kathy Bell said. "It makes it really hard to know that we're on a race for time."

Her disease is called Diamond Blackfan Anemia. She cannot produce her own red blood cells.

She will have to go to Minnesota for treatment. It will probably last 6 months or more.

Jacob Barber is a teenager who spent several weeks in Phoenix when he had kidney surgery. He knows how tough it can be.

"It's hard being away from my friends, away from my family," Barber said. "It makes it different, not being home."

Kathy Bell said she wants to stay in Tucson, but the hospital would need to invest millions of dollars in hematology specialists.

Lizzie's disease inspired her family to start Team Lizzie Bell. They raise awareness and encourage people to donate blood.

They held an annual blood drive at their home Sunday.

Lisa Robinson donated there. Her 18-month-old daughter, Gracie, was born with several heart defects. Gracie needed blood for surgery when she was only one week old.

"I donated in the past," Robinson said. "But it became more real for me at that time."

She hopes others will realize how important blood donation is.

"Go out and donate," Robinson said. "When it becomes personal, it hits a little closer to home."


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