Micah Johnson has a birthday wish that could save his life.
He was diagnosed with Severe Aplastic Anemia in February and is in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant to survive. With his birthday approaching, a community nonprofit is stepping in to help grant his wish.
Pay It Forward Networking reached out to Micah’s family after hearing about his need for a bone marrow donor match. They are encouraging everyone to help save a life and join the national bone marrow registry.
Micah’s parents, TSgt Javon Lee and MSgt Tavara Lee, are currently stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base. Javon said the past six months have been an eye opening experience. They have watched a child who was so energetic and full of life become isolated indoors and heavily dependent on medication just to keep his condition manageable.
Aplastic anemia is a condition that occurs when the body stops producing enough new blood cells. It develops when damage occurs to the bone marrow, slowing or shutting down the production of new blood cells. Bone marrow is a red, spongy material inside the bones that produces stem cells, which give rise to other cells.
Severe aplastic anemia, in which the blood cell counts are extremely low, is life-threatening and requires immediate hospitalization for treatment. Micah’s diagnosis came as a shock. The family took him to see a doctor after he had a sore ankle from playing in a basketball game. Lee noticed that his eyes were extremely yellow, but thought he may have just been dehydrated.
As the days followed, the yellow in his eyes was still there. A visit to their doctor resulted in a referral to a specialist in Shreveport. Ultimately, Micah was referred to the Children’s Hospital in New Orleans for treatment. By March, Micah was seeing a doctor twice a week for blood work and infusions.
The last call they received in June was to say that the medications and transfusions were not helping and a bone marrow transplant would be needed for him to survive.
“Right now, he’s on five different medications to stabilize him. Those medications aren’t really helping though. Basically it’s like putting a bandaid on a bullet wound at this point,” Lee said.
Unfortunately, both of Micah’s parents and his two older siblings are not a match. They are still holding on to their faith that they will find a match.
“You can potentially save someone’s life,” Lee said. “Not just Micah’s life, but someone in the world.”
Pay It Forward Networking is also using the power of social media to catch the attention of Micah’s favorite NBA star.
Along with finding a bone marrow donor match, his other wish is to meet Lebron James, get an autographed Lebron James jersey and attend a Cleveland Cavaliers basketball game. Lee said meeting Lebron James would be a dream come true for Micah.
After his diagnosis, Micah was in the hospital watching the NBA playoffs. Seeing his hero on the court gave him hope and strength to not give up during the difficult days.
Lee hopes that his son will get his birthday wish this month.
“A phone call, a video message, a game…anything,” Lee said.
To join the national bone marrow registry, visit https://join.bethematch.org/magicmicah or http://www.lifeshare.org/bethematch.
To find out more about Pay It Forward Networking, visit https://www.facebook.com/PayItForwardNetworking/.