12-year-old girl gives life-saving marrow donation to younger sister



Posted on June 26, 2012 at 6:11 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 27 at 4:18 PM

NEW ORLEANS - To look at 11-year-old Daeja Jeanpiere today it’s hard to believe that a year ago she was facing a serious illness.

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Her parents reached out to me because they saw Robin’s announcement.

“Robin expressed that she had MDS and that her older sister is a perfect match and I was thinking, ‘Oh my God, is that us?’ said Desiree Jeanpiere, Daeja’s mom. “We went through the same thing.”

Last year Daeja was diagnosed with Mylodysplastic Sydrome – MDS. She underwent chemo and radiation, which was difficult.

“I got through it,” she said. “I had faith.”

And she had a perfect match with her big sister, 12-year-old Destinee. On April 20, Destinee donated needed stem cells to her little sister. Because her veins were so small, a port was inserted inside of her neck to draw the necessary blood.

“It was horrible,” recalled Destinee. “I was happy because I was saving my sister’s life.”

Destinee missed only a week of school and returned to doing what she loves – running track.

And, after months of recuperation, Daeja has returned to the gym, picking up almost where she left off.

“Some of the flips that I used to do, I can’t,” she said. “But I just have to work up to it.”

The Jeanpiere’s are amazed at their daughter’s progress.

“There is hope that, that was the thing,” said Mr. Damion Jeanpiere. “We wanted to get across to you and Robin that there’s hope. No matter what the battle is, together it’s going to bring you closer. It’s going to bring you way closer as sisters. You’re going to understand one another and there is hope. Don’t look at the initial fight and give up.”