You’re never too young to save a life, or in the case of 4-year old Michael Pownall, save two lives. On March 8, Michael will donate his bone marrow in order to save the lives of his 4-month old twin brothers, Santino and Giovanni.
The twins both suffer from Chronic Granulomatous Disease, a rare condition that affects just one in every half a million people. The disease makes them susceptible to fungi and bacteria, making those kinds of infections life-threatening.
Michael’s older brother, Dominick, was also born with the disease and was lucky enough to find an outside donor who was a match. However, in the case of the twins, the only family member who was a donor match was Michael.
A bone marrow transplant from a donor who’s a perfect match can cure the condition. With Michael being the only match among family members, the 4-year old has had to endure a series of painful tests and procedures before the actual transplant next month.
“He goes to the doctor when he gets the labs for the pre-testing and he says, ‘Look how strong I am,’ and he gives them willingly his arm to get blood work,” explains Michael’s mother, Robin Pownall. “The nurses are amazed. They’re like, ‘I cannot believe how brave he is,’ and he really is. It gives me chills.”
Both Robin and her fiancé have been forced to quick their jobs. One is usually at the hospital
with the twins while the other one takes care of Dominick and Michael at home. The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help cover medical costs and living expenses.
Despite the costs, the family is grateful that Michael was found to be a match and that he’s willing to go through everything require of being a bone marrow donor. On March 8, doctors will extract Michael’s bone marrow, and a couple hours later, he will watch as they infuse it into Santino and Giovanni.
“He could have said, ‘No, mommy, I’m too scared and I don’t want to,’ but he’s ready to go,” says Robin. “He’s just like, ‘I’m a real-life superhero.’ He says, ‘I’m going to save my baby brothers.'”