4-year-old donating bone marrow to help his twin brothers

A four-year-old boy showed immense courage when he volunteered to be the bone marrow donor for his twin baby brothers that were confined due to a congenital condition that put their lives at risk.

“He was on board since the minute we told him,” Pownall said. “He knows it’s going to be a big needle going into his back.”

Last year, Robin Pownall and her fiancé were expecting twins. They have two older children together ages 9 and 4. On October 14, 2017, Robin gave birth to 33-week old premature twin baby boys named Santino “Sonny” and Giovanni “Gio” Demasi. The twins spent weeks in the NICU.

10 days after the family was sent home, Santino and Giovanni both tested positive for Chronic Granulomatous Disease (CGD), a rare immune disorder that affects part of your immune system and makes them unable to fight certain infections on their own. Only 1 out of 500,000 a year are diagnosed with this disease.

Santino was hospitalized for a wound infection, and we have been at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) ever since. The only way to lead a normal and healthier life is through a transplant.

The couple was familiar with CGD as their first born, Dominick, also had the same condition. It is now considered cured of a stem cell transplant he received here at CHOP eight years ago.


In search for a donor, the couple’s middle child, Michael, who is only 4, matched with his twin brothers and is fit to become their donor for a bone marrow transplant.


The couple explained to their son that he could save his brothers’ lives. “Michael said, ‘I’m gonna give them with my bone marrow!’ I explained the entire process with him, how it may hurt, and that he will be getting a pretty large needle.

He said, ‘Is it going to save them?’ We said ‘yes’ and he said, ‘Okay, I’ll do it then!’,” Pownall shared to Love What Matters.

The twins underwent chemotherapy prior their surgery on March 8, 2018.

“Michael is proud to be saving his twin brothers lives. He is so brave, he leaves his arm out for the nurse to draw his blood. He knows what he’s about to do. It’s truly inspirational. He gives me strength just watching how strong he is,” Robin shared.

“I am so scared and nervous for all three of my boys, but when I look into their eyes, I see strength. I know everything is going to be okay,” she added.

Taking care of the twins in the hospital is very tasking. The couple had to quit their jobs in order to attend to the needs of their twins and two other children.

A GoFundMe page was set up to help the couple pay for the medical bills. The goal is to raise $50,000 that will cover the operation.

Watch the willingness of the kid to be his brothers’ donor in this heartwarming video.

Photo credit: GoFundMe

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