Dear Donors: from boy in a bubble to unstoppable bubbly boy

Dear Donors: from boy in a bubble to unstoppable bubbly boy

Plasma donors are Ismaeel’s secret weapon for fighting infections.

The news came when Ismaeel was just 24 hours old: he had severe combined immunodeficiency, or SCID. For mum Javeria and dad Usman, the diagnosis was devastating and terrifying. Without a successful stem cell transplant, babies born with SCID don’t survive past two, and most never see their first birthday.

But what is SCID?

It’s a rare disorder where the white blood cells (which fight infection) simply aren’t there. For Ismaeel, he had no T cells — those are the ones that detect foreign substances and start the immune response. Without those, his body wouldn’t fight any infections at all.

So, his parents sprang into action.

“We didn’t wait to search worldwide registries for Ismaeel. Time was of the essence.”

Instead of waiting for a “perfect” match, they went ahead with a half match from Usman. Ismaeel doesn’t remember getting his dad’s blood, “but he keeps reminding me!”

Ismaeel lived in the hospital with his mum “for a long time” before moving into isolation at home.

“I used to stay home all the time, and I had to stay in one area in a play pen that my mum and dad would keep super clean for me. It was my bubble.”

It was three years of complete isolation, waiting for his cells to grow. Javeria compares it to COVID isolation, but much, much longer. Although Ismaeel is now able to grow his own T cells after the transplant, they don’t communicate with his existing B cells (those are the ones that produce antibodies, to keep you safe from future infections). So, the transplant was only a partial success.

Plasma to the rescue!

Plasma treatments fill the gaps in Ismaeel’s immune system. Each treatment is full of antibodies from a pool of hundreds of plasma donors, and protects him from common viruses and infections. Without it, a simple cold would be devastating — he’d still be living in his bubble.

From the bottom of our hearts, our whole family is grateful to you and appreciates every drop of plasma you have donated. You have directly contributed to Ismaeel’s health. He’s thriving because of your selfless gift.

Ismaeel is just as grateful. “Now I can go outside, to the park, the movies, the arcade. I can go everywhere! I can go to school and I can go to Jiu Jitsu after school. I can even go on an aeroplane and go to other countries! I finally got to go overseas and meet my great grandma." Javeria and Usman also wanted to show their appreciation by creating a Lifeblood Team named after their son, Team Ismaeel. Together, they make a difference to people just like their little boy.

So, what’s next for Ismaeel?

Well, one day, he’s going to “invent a way to take the medicine like a drink in your mouth instead of having a needle. Or make a portal in your arm so you don’t need a needle. Just a sticker.”

But for right now, he just has one more thing to say: “People who donate blood are really nice.”

Couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Want to make a life-changing difference to someone like Ismaeel (and be “really nice”)? Book your donation today.