Our son’s life-changing gift to his older brother diagnosed with sickle cell anemia

Our son’s life-changing gift to his older brother diagnosed with sickle cell anemia

William Fontenot

Photo courtesy of Ronald and Melissa Fontenot

Ronald and Melissa Fontenot are parents to 6-year-old William and 2-year-old Lucas.  “William, was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia two weeks after he was born,” Ronald said. “We noticed he was tired and had very little energy, he didn’t have a big appetite and his arms and legs grew swollen. When he was 9 months old, we started giving him hydroxyurea medicine that helps prevent sickle-shaped red blood cells from forming. They weren’t a cure, the only cure for sickle cell was a bone marrow transplant.”

In 2018, when Ronald & Melissa found they were expecting a second baby, the thought of Lucas becoming a bone marrow donor for William crossed their minds. After doing their research, they discussed treatment options with their pediatric hematologist, Dr. Michael Gleason, and Dr. Tami John, bone marrow transplant specialists who are both at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Center. 

“It was exciting news when we found out Lucas would be the bone marrow donor for William, but it was a little bit nerve wracking for us,” Melissa said. “We weren’t sure what to expect after this procedure. However, my husband and I were hopefully optimistic the transplant would work and possibly cure our son’s sickle cell anemia.”

Since William’s bone marrow transplant on Sept. 2, 2020 – the Fontenot’s say William is doing remarkably well. They are grateful to Texas Children’s Hospital and the entire health care team for taking great care of William during his one-month hospital stay while his body recovered from the transplant.

Each year in September, Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Center recognizes Sickle Cell Awareness Month.


Ronald and Melissa Fontenot

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