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Amazing Kids! of the Month

Amazing Kids! is proud to highlight the Amazing Kids! of the Month!

Each month, we showcase kids who are accomplishing amazing things. We hope that by telling their special stories, we will inspire other kids to accomplish their own amazing achievements.


Amazing Kids! of the Month for September, 2007: 
Amazing Young Bone Marrow Donor Registration Activists,
Kailee Wells and Pat Pedraja; U.S.A.
Kailee Wells
Amazing Kailee Wells and her parents,
Amazing Bone Marrow Donor Registration Activists


 
Pat Pedraja
 Amazing Pat Pedraja,
Amazing Young Bone Marrow Donor Registration Activist


Quotes of the Month

“My parents, with the help of many, many others, have worked with people all over the world to let everyone know about the need for people to become committed potential bone marrow donors. It’s simple. It’s easy. I just know that if people knew that a Q Tip swab to the insides of your cheek is all that is needed to register your marrow, everyone would join the world marrow registry.”


“Please don’t forget to donate blood and platelets as often as you can. I need transfusions every week, and there are thousands of others just like me who depend on the loving kindness of others to live, until we get rid of our diseases.

~Kailee Wells, age 10
Amazing Young Bone Marrow Donor Registration Activist


“Never give up; battle head on! Always keep a positive attitude and know you will get through it.”

“I came up with the idea to do a national marrow drive after I heard about someone who had Leukemia and died when they couldn’t find a matching donor. I had to do something to help! If one child like me can make such a difference, you can too!”

~Pat Pedraja, age 12
Amazing Young Bone Marrow Donor Registration Activist


Our September Amazing Kids! of the Month:

Our September Amazing Kids! of the Month story focuses on the inspiring and touching lives of two very strong and determined kids, Kailee Wells, age 10 and Pat Pedraja, age 12.  Both have worked with their amazing parents to help raise awareness for the life-saving abilities of bone marrow donation. 

Kailee and Pat have serious illnesses which often require people who have the illnesses to have bone marrow transplants.  Kailee has had several transplants, and she and her family know first-hand just how difficult it is to find a match for the right donor.  Though Pat hasn't needed a transplant, he knows there are many children who do require them.  Because of their own experiences and awareness, they have worked diligently with their parents to help find countless new bone marrow donors through the creation of bone marrow donor awareness and registration events. 

Read their amazing stories below and who knows?  You just may be inspired to join their cause by visiting http://www.marrow.org and learning more on how you can help.  Some of the ways you can help are:

1. Making a donation
2. Helping teach others about their cause and encourage them to register to become a bone marrow donor
3. (If you are 18 or older) Becoming a registered bone marrow donor yourself!

And don't forget, if you, or a young person (or persons!) you know, has an amazing project you are involved in, or a special skill, talent or ability you want to tell the world about, be sure to let Amazing Kids! know about it! Teachers are invited to nominate their entire classroom and the amazing projects they are working on too! Simply complete a nomination form for an Amazing Kid! of the Month award, or email us!



Table of Contents

Meet Kailee Wells: Amazing Young Bone Marrow Donor Registration Activist

Meet Pat Pedraja: Amazing Young Bone Marrow Donor Registration Activist

Related Links


Meet Kailee:  Amazing Young Bone Marrow Donor Registration Activist

September Amazing Kid! of the Month, Kailee Wells
Amazing Kailee

Courage and heroism are concepts often idealized in the fictional world, appearing as main themes of countless works of art and literature. Because of the way they are presented, we often defamiliarize ourselves from these notions, believing that normal, everyday people like ourselves do not possess enough courage or heroism to be commended.

This, however, is far from the truth. Anyone can be courageous and heroic, children included! – as is proven by ten-year-old Kailee Wells and twelve-year-old Pat Pedraja, both living with serious life-threatening illnesses. For them, bravery is not exhibited in any one deed, but in the multitude of deeds that come with living life one day at a time with fortitude and grace. Not only do they meet their personal challenges head-on, they are working with their loving and supportive families to find ways of helping others who suffer from similar diseases and who need life-saving bone marrow transfusions.


Kailee Wells
Kailee as a preschooler, enjoying the beach

Kailee, now ten years old, was diagnosed with aplastic anemia at the young age of five. Initially, doctors viewed Kailee's stomachache, runny nose, and high fevers as signs of a virus and soon sent her home.

Several days after her first trip to the hospital, however, things changed for the worse. A nosebleed lasting five hours sent Kailee and her family straight back to the hospital where a blood sample was taken. Kailee's doctors took more tests in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, where they discovered that Kailee had very few blood cells in her body. A bone marrow biopsy confirmed that Kailee had a condition called aplastic anemia, a disease in which the patient's bone marrow fails to create new blood cells.

For Kailee, any simple infection or bleeding that is for the most part harmless to most people can prove to be fatal. Thus, she must be extra careful to prevent any injuries as well as take note of any negative reactions to her treatments.

Kailee Wells
Kailee with her parents, Linda and Owen

Although Kailee is only ten years old, she has already undergone multiple bone marrow transfusions. After a failed bone marrow transplant, and an exhaustive 3 1/2 year search that took her family half way around the world, the Wells finally found a near perfect match for Kailee in 2005, in the form of a twenty-eight-year-old Chinese doctor living in China.  After searching through almost 10 million people in the world registry with no match, finally the donor they had been praying for walked in to a blood center somewhere in China!

Their search underscores the great need to add as many donors to the registry as possible.  Finding exact matches for bone marrow donors can be extremely difficult! Although Kailee was fortunate to find an ideal donor, she realizes that many children who suffer from similar illness have not found donors. To give back to all the people that had helped her, Kailee and her family, along with the National Marrow Donor Program and the National Association of Hospitality Houses, began organizing an annual “Mother’s Marrow Drive.” Their fourth annual Mother’s Marrow Drive on May 13, 2006 was held in seventy-five locations nationwide!

Kailee’s father, Owen, participated again in the drive this past May. This year, the drive was even larger than in past years: it was conducted in 710 locations in 46 states, which brought in 36,735 new donors; an additional 6,196 people signed up online at http://www.marrow.org!

A big “thank you” goes to Amazing Kailee and her parents for their truly heroic efforts in signing up new bone marrow donors! 

HOW YOU CAN HELP

You can help Kailee's family cover some of their mounting medical expenses by emailing them for more information:  fundraising@kaileegetwells.com.

If you’d like to help save lives like Kailee and her family have done, please visit http://www.marrow.org and learn more about how you can register your bone marrow type and potentially save another person’s life.



Meet Pat Pedraja: Amazing Young Bone Marrow Donor Registration Activist

Pat Pedraja
Amazing Pat in front of a "Driving for Donors" RV

Battling a different disease, yet promoting the same awareness, is an amazing and determined eleven-year-old Pat Pedraja, who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in March, 2006. Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, or ALL, is characterized by the overproduction and continuous multiplication of malignant and immature white blood cells, known as lymphoblasts in the bone marrow. If left untreated, ALL can spread into the bloodstream and other vital organs.

When Pat was diagnosed, his initial reaction was disbelief and fear as he knew almost nothing about the life-threatening disease. After some contemplation, however, Pat came to believe that there are lessons and insight to be gained from all experiences, and he decided that having the disease would teach him lessons unobtainable from elsewhere.

Although ALL hindered Pat's activities, Pat kept his optimistic outlook on life through it all. Treatment for his leukemia included painful chemotherapy, which made Pat extremely ill. Furthermore, Pat endured daily hospital visits for a year, during which he was given three daily shots in the legs. Due to his health, Pat was unable to attend school, yet he excelled in the hospital bound homeschool program, receiving straight A's in all accelerated classes! His siblings provided tremendous support by creating indoor games for Pat to be involved, as well as by visiting him frequently during Pat's hospital stays.


Pat Pedraja
A "Donormobile" in front of a marrow donor drive

Pat Pedraja
Pat with his mother, Claudine, selling advertisement space 
on his head to raise money for tissue typing fees

Although having leukemia has been an extraordinary difficult personal challenge for Pat, he has discovered ways to transform hardships into opportunities. Pat’s treatments made him bald twice. Pat, however, used this opportunity to raise money for tissue typing fees by selling advertisement space on this head. This past April, Pat also began a project named “Driving for Donors” in order to add new donors to the National Marrow Registry. To achieve his goal of adding 2007 new donors, Pat traveled in a special “DonorMobile” across the country, hitting 30 major cities along the way, including New York, Washington D.C., Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, Dallas, Phoenix, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Denver, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. With the help of thousands of altruistic individuals, Pat added 5,092 new donors to the National Marrow Registry, more than double of his initial goal!! Now that is one amazing feat by one truly amazing kid!

To other children with serious or life-threatening diseases, Pat would like to tell them that a positive outlook is a vital component of overcoming their illnesses.

If you’d like to support Pat and help save lives, please visit Pat's website at: www.drivingfordonors.com/SaveALife.asp and purchase a “Save A Life” certificate for $52, the cost of becoming a registered marrow donor.

If you're interested in helping to cover some of Pat's medical expenses, please email them at: info@drivingfordonors.com

~~~~~~

Note to Kailee and Pat:  your strength and fortitude is truly amazing!!!  We're honored to be able to share your story with our readers, and with other children who have serious illnesses and who may find hope and inspiration from reading your amazing stories. You are an inspiration to us all and you both are truly amazing kids! :)

Note to our Readers:

Remember, everyone can be, and someday may need, a hero to help them get through difficult life challenges. You can be that hero too!


  RELATED LINKS

Kailee's website: www.kaileegetwells.com

Pat’s website:   www.drivingfordonors.com

National Marrow Donor Program: www.marrow.org



 
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A Special Message from Amazing Kids! for all you kids:

It's no secret...every person has an "amazing-ness" inside of them, just waiting to be discovered. (Sometimes we just need a little help in finding out what that "amazing-ness" is!)

If you are doing some amazing things too, we want to hear about it! Send us your stories about your amazing accomplishments, so we can tell the world just how amazing you are! We are always looking for new stories. And don't be shy! We'd love to hear from you!



Here's an idea you might want to try:

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If you know someone who needs a little encouragement, why not tell them what you think is special about them? Maybe you can be the one to help them uncover their own special talent.

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