HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - A Henrico teenager's second chance at life following a rare bone marrow transplant is progressing beyond his doctor's expectations.
But, there have been some setbacks. The spirited teenager shared his painful struggle with sickle cell disease, with us four years ago.
Nile Price and his family allowed NBC12 to document efforts to find a donor and we've been following the family's journey since then.
Nile is steadily doing more and needing less medication. There was a time he couldn't do anything for himself. I caught up with the Price family at the bowling alley.
Nile says he's in a good place, in life, now. His fingers moving freely with strength to grab and throw a heavy ball down the lane.
Six months ago, bowling was only a mental image.
"My hands, they don't go back as far as I want them too," said Nile.
Graft versus host disease caused his muscles and skin to tighten and appear burned. He says his bone marrow donor's cells attacked his skin because they know they're in a different body. He's now discharged from intense physical therapy and doctors are tapering off the meds.
"I'm at 120 degrees on this arm and 80 degrees on this arm. So, I'm proud of that," said Nile.
Nile is alive, cured of sickle cell, fighting and winning even pulling through a potentially deadly sepsis infection.
Praise and honor he says to God, his family, friends and school but special kudos for his brother, Jordan.
"He helped me wash. He does my creams for me and he would help me put on shirts or whatever. He was a big help. I really thank him for that too," said Nile.
"It's in our family, we don't give up," said Nile's father, Vincent. "Even down to Olivia. There's nothing that's going to stop us."
Nile's sister and father have sickle cell. The genetic blood disorder strikes everybody differently and affects the whole family.
"I had to learn to let go, and it started with Jordan stepping in," said Nile's mother Deborah.
Nile got his life-saving transplant in 2009. In 2011, he met his miracle donor, a white woman of Scottish/Irish descent living in Texas.
VCU doctors call the bone marrow match rare.
"It truly was God's hand, said donor Laura Klubert. "He has my DNA. He is my other son."
It's been a challenging four years, but his father, a pastor, says they're at a wonderful point in life now.
"I knew I was going to get back to where I was," said Nile. "I just didn't know how long it would take."
There's a desperate need for African American donors. A bone marrow transplant can be a cure for many diseases, but Nile is concerned not enough minorities make up the donor registry.
To join the national registry, go online to: www.bethematch.org.