Friday 20 January 2017

Brave Jack donates bone marrow to brother

Danielle Stephens

Published 28/07/2014 | 02:30

Ethan McCormack-Caulfield in bed on the day of his transplant, surrounded by family and the doctor who performed the operation
Ethan McCormack-Caulfield in bed on the day of his transplant, surrounded by family and the doctor who performed the operation
Ethan McCormack Caulfield, with his brothers Ryan and Jack and ex-rugby international Ronan O'Gara.

A boy from Co Waterford has received a life-saving bone marrow transplant from his older brother.

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Ethan McCormack-Caulfield (5) is recovering in a Minnesota hospital from the procedure, where he will stay for at least eight weeks.

His big brother Jack (8) donated his bone marrow after he was found to be a match two years ago.

Jack said that he was a bit sore after the operation, but was happy that he helped his little brother.

"He had never been in the hospital before as a patient, so he was a bit nervous. But we sat him down and explained what he would have to do," said mum Caroline.

Ethan suffers from a genetic disorder known as ALD, or Adrenoleukodystrophy. The family have already seen the effects that this horrible disease can have.

Jack's twin brother Ryan (8) underwent a successful transplant in January 2013.

However, the disorder left the young boy with serious vision and hearing impairments. He requires 24-hour care and a special needs teacher in school.

Originally, when asked what could be done to save Ryan, doctors told his parents to "bring him to Disneyland, take a lot of pictures and enjoy your time with him".

But Caroline said she is so relieved she didn't take their advice. Despite his difficulties, his mum said that he's "one of the happiest little boys she knows".

"He's the only child that goes running into school in the morning, he's that excited," she added.


Nearly two years ago, Caroline noticed a change in her eldest son's behaviour. After being referred to several specialists, Caroline drove Ryan up to Dublin and demanded that a MRI scan be done.

Caroline and her husband Jimmy were then given the harrowing diagnosis and they had their other two sons tested for the disorder. It was then discovered that Ethan had the degenerative disease.

Each procedure cost €1.5m, and Caroline has praised all of the fundraising done by friends and family up to this point.

Ex-Ireland rugby international Ronan O'Gara has also shown his support for the family.

Anyone who would like to donate to the Save Ryan and Ethan Appeal can donate directly to the account number 18596922 sort code 90-47-04.

Irish Independent

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