Article written by Janice Herdt, Conyers, GA
This is a sad but true story about two young brothers, Matthew and Travis Turner, who are in need of a bone marrow transplant. Both boys have been diagnosed with a rare blood cancer called Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). Their hope is for an immediate bone marrow transplant.
The boys are all too familiar with the cancer. Their grandfather, Steve Purvine, passed away over twenty years ago from MDS. Their mother, Natalie Purvine Turner, who was the youngest daughter to Steve and his wife Pam (Harper), was diagnosed with the same disease and lost her battle nine years ago, leaving three sons.
Natalie’s two youngest sons, Matthew (12) and Travis (11), have been raised by their paternal aunt and uncle, Donna and Jesse Mitcham, in Locust Grove, Georgia. Now that they have been diagnosed with the rare MDS, both boys are currently scheduled for bone marrow transplants. However, Travis has a very rare gene and although they have searched the national database they can only find a half-match for him. Below is an excerpt from his Aunt (Mother) Donna Mitcham’s blog:
“As it turns out Travis’ one potential donor isn’t a good match for him. We were warned that this might be the case, but it still hit us hard. He will now have to go with a half match. Doctors are very optimistic even though it’s pretty new in the transplant world. The Doctor said that he will potentially have to do more than one transplant if it doesn’t work the first time. They still plan for him to be on track for starting the process around the first week of August. They tell us that if all goes well with Travis, they will admit Matt after Travis hits that magical 100 day post transplant mark. We are really trying to just roll with it, and remember that God is in control. His plan is better than ours. We are holding on to that.”
There is hope but help is needed. If anyone is interested in registering to become a donor (ages 18-44), a cheek swab will be needed to see if you are a potential match. For more information about being a potential donor, visit https://bethematch.org/transplant-basics/matching-patients-with-donors/ or contact Donna Mitcham at [email protected]
Also, there is a benefit planned for Saturday, August 27th. Information about the benefit is available at https://www.facebook.com/events/773971619371801/.