UPDATE: GA teen recovering well after sibling donates bone marrow

UPDATE: GA teen recovering well after sibling donates bone marrow

UPATOI, GA (WTVM) - The bone marrow transplant for a Upatoi teen suffering with sickle cell went well.

Joshua Swanier, 16, received a bone marrow transplant donated by his sister, Kalei, 15, last week at Egleston Hospital in Atlanta.

His mother says he's doing good but is still in the hospital and has a long road to recovery. News Leader 9 spoke with his mother, Dr. Cheryl Swanier, on the phone Friday afternoon about Joshua's condition.

"Joshua is doing great. Right now, we're waiting for his numbers to completely go down and once they do go down, we'll wait for them to go back up again.  Once they go back up again, that means he's operating off his own bone marrow," explained Cheryl Swanier.

The numbers Dr. Swanier is talking about are his white blood cell count. Chemotherapy treatments are being administered to destroy Joshua's bone marrow with the hope of Kalei's bone marrow taking over, causing the cell count to go back up.

Joshua is starting to experience the effects of taking the chemo to kill his bone marrow by losing his hair and seeing breakouts on his skin. As for Kalei, who donated the bone marrow to her brother, she was in a lot of pain but is home now recovering.

"Kalei came out of surgery in tears. She was in a lot of pain. It was a big difference from when she was four years old and donated bone marrow to her older sister, Anna Swanier."

Joshua is expected to be in the hospital through August. The family is still in need of financial assistance. If you'd like to donate, click here for the GoFundMe page.

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