Young Boy's Bone Marrow Journey Leads to Texas Donor

At first a young mother thought her son just had a stomach bug. But he was soon diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder, and a nearly one-in-a-million shot at saving his life led them to a Texas man.

DeDe Harris shared that journey with NBC 5's Wayne Carter from her home in Georgia.

Her 8-year-old son, Trevor, was diagnosed with an extremely rare genetic condition, Fanconi anemia, which affects a person's bone marrow.

"I asked, 'Can he live a long, normal life?' And she (the doctor) hesitated, and that's when the fear, the gut punch happened," DeDe Harris said.

Trevor would need a bone marrow transplant, so his doctors in Cincinnati turned to the National Marrow Donor Program's registry.

"You're putting the life of your child is someone else's hands. You don't know where they are, who they are," DeDe Harris said.

Out of the millions on the registry, only three people had the potential to save Trevor, and a Texas man was the best match.

Danny Work entered the registry years ago trying to save his aunt.

"So what did I have to do exactly?" he wondered when he got the call about a little boy needing his marrow donation.

The registry is anonymous, so the families couldn't know any details about one another.

The next 12 months were filled with wonder and worry – not to mention tests, blood draws, and injections that can be so painful doctors compare them to a heart attack.

"I always had a fear of needles and doctors," Work said.

Still, he went forward only knowing there was a little boy somewhere who needed him.

"You have to make that pledge to follow through, because if you don't, the patient will likely die," he said.

Work's marrow cells were sent to a hospital in Cincinnati where doctors would give Trevor the biggest gift he'll likely receive, but would they work?

Waiting was the hardest part for both sides.

Finally they got word the transplant was a success, but the story doesn't end there.

Danny Work and Trevor Harris wanted to meet. They spoke for hours on the phone that day, and the calls haven't stopped.

They soon learned Trevor's mom and Work's aunt have the same name, and the similarities continued. The donor and recipient both listen to National Public Radio, love British comedies and find humor in all they have been through.

Trevor's cousin even wrote a song about the pair who themselves "blood brothers."

"Danny's bone marrow gave me back the other half of my life," said Trevor Harris.

"He's like an old man in a little boy's body," Work said.

That's true in more ways than one.

If you're interested in learning more about their story and the comic book character Trevor created, Marrow Man, to raise awareness about the need for bone marrow donors click here.

If you are willing to sign up for the registry, to potentially help someone like Trevor, click here.

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