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New development in bone marrow transplant

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By Diane Walker - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – A new development in a groundbreaking cure for sickle cell anemia. We took you inside Nile Price's hospital room for his life saving bone marrow transplant a year ago. Today, the Henrico teen and his donor are part of an international study after a 'rare' occurrence. 

Nile's parents call it, 'jaw dropping'. In order for the donor to be a perfect match they had to be of the same race and ethnicity. That's what doctors told them. 

"She saved my life and gave me a brand new life where I can actually be a kid," said Nile. 

The youngest of triplets hangs tough with his brothers. No more pain. Nile Price is sickle cell free and truly that's all that matters, but still the Prices marvel at a miracle...43-year-old Laura Klubert of Houston. 

Diane Walker: "Your donor is a white lady in Texas?"
Nile Price: "Yes ma'am. Yes ma'am. I was shocked. My mouth dropped." 

"Her name was Klubert. I said that person is not black. My wife was like, I said that's not a black person," said Nile's father Vincent Price. 

It's rare. No one imagined it, when Nile was at VCU Medical Center in July '09 having bone marrow infused through a tube in his chest. A 5 percent chance doctors now say, that a person of another race would have 8 out of 8 immuno-logic markers match an unrelated recipient. Nile's donor was identified. He called her on his transplant birthday. 

"I don't know who was more excited. She started crying on the phone," said Nile. 

Her family is from Scotland and Ireland. She's married with 3 children, one is blind and deaf. 

'Here's a mother who's faced challenges too with the health of a child. He's undergone 13 surgeries," said Nile's mother Deborah Price. "To share herself with us is phenomenal."    

I spoke with Laura through Skype. 

Diane Walker: "What is it like to know that you saved Nile's life?"
Laura Klubert: "It just hasn't hit me in that way. It's just, he was supposed to live. He is supposed to be everything that he was going to be one day. Divine intervention. I feel very strongly that God had a hand in that."
Diane Walker: "He'd like to meet you sometime in person, are you amenable to that?"
Laura Klubert: "Absolutely, yes that is a definite." 

"It'll mean a lot to me to thank her in person," said Nile. 

It's been challenging for Nile. He's on expensive drugs to fight infections -- and the family can't afford the trip to Texas. 

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