MIAMI, Fla. — Each year, more than 18 thousand people, in the United States are diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses where a bone marrow transplant is their best treatment option.
Thousands of those on the list are children. Only 30 percent have a matching relative, leaving many hoping for a stranger to save their life. One of those on the list, a little four-year-old who is on a mission for a match.
Blowing out the candles for a fourth birthday is a huge milestone for twins Mackenzie and Sloane Caston.
“They’re beautiful, amazing girls, and they are so vivacious, and you know with Sloane, Sloanie is so resilient,” Keri Caston, Sloane’s mom, told Ivanhoe.
Born healthy, six-pound, bundles of joy?at eleven months Sloane was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor. Despite treatment cancer kept coming back in her spine, then in her blood. Her only real hope for healthy life, a bone marrow transplant. Her sister, while a perfect match on the playground not a match for a donor.
“As a human being when something like this gets thrown at you, it’s amazing what you become,” Seth Caston, Sloane’s dad, shared.
#SloaneStrong has become a worldwide campaign on the gift of life registry. Appealing to everyone to get swabbed especially young adults.
“Between I believe 18 to 35-year-olds is where you get 80% of the matches,” Keri stated.
So far #SloaneStrong has inspired three thousand people to get registered and has helped save two lives, while her family waits for her miracle match.
“She gives me an enormous amount of strength. She is courageous, we call her the GOAT. She is the greatest of all time,” Keri vocalized.
“You stay strong for your kids, and it’s a part of life, and we hope that there is a happy ending. It’s scary to think what could be, but we try to live one day at a time,” Seth remarked.
Because Sloane and her sister are not identical twins, Mackenzie had a one in four chance of being a match. It turns out she is only a half match, which isn't enough for a successful transplant, so their search continues. Anyone under the age of 60 can get swabbed. To request a free kit, go to giftoflife.com.