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Daughter Makes Brave Sacrifice For Her Father PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Denise Koch   

WESTMINSTER, Md. (WJZ): How do you ask a 9-year-old to save Daddy's life? One Westminster family recently struggled with this very difficult question.

Denise Koch reports when the family's little girl said "yes" she became the youngest donor in a history-making procedure at Hopkins.

In July 2008, life as the Glicks knew it turned upside down.

"I was diagnosed on July 7 and was lucky to be alive on July 8," said Larry Glick.

The Westminster family learned Larry Glick had a very rare and very advanced type of leukemia.

"That's the changing point," he said.

His only chance for survival was a bone marrow transplant.

"My blood was like sludge. Literally like sludge," Glick said.

But in a pool of seven million donors, no one matched Larry. So doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital proposed a radical idea: Larry's 9-year-old daughter Gabbie, whose DNA is half her dad's, could donate.

Larry and his wife April left the grown-up decision to Gabbie.

"I was kind of worried about what she would say," said Gabbie's sister, Nettie. "She's still little. She's still a kid."

Gabbie's mom April had to explain it to her.

"I said, `Do you remember how Daddy and I talked to you guys about the possibility of one of you having to be the bone marrow donor?' I said, `Well, we heard from the hospital and you're Daddy's best shot.' She said, `Do I have a choice?' and I said, `Absolutely.' And she said, `Mommy, if I say no, Daddy could die,'" April said. "She looked at me and said, `Yeah, I'll do it. I'll save Daddy's life.'"

"She came downstairs and said, `I'll save your life.' What do you do? You cry," Larry said.

Gabbie's one condition was that she know nothing about the procedure.

"All I remember was getting ready and when they put in the IV needle," Gabbie said.

"It's like the oddest feeling in the world where you're sitting there with a pole and you're looking up at marrow that's your daughter's and it's going into you," Larry said. "You just think, `Wow, that's kind of surreal.'"

Gabbie is the youngest donor Hopkins ever used for this breakthrough procedure.

"The type of transplant we're talking about is only experimental," said Dr. Javier Bolaños Meade, oncologist with the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.

Hopkins is the country's lead researcher for these half DNA match transplants.

"No matter what the outcome, she did a very good job," he said.

"I still have two little dots [from the procedure]. My mom has named them my love spots," Gabbie said.

Her friends were supportive.

"They're proud of me and they wanted me to feel good and have a positive attitude," she said.

But how does this change Larry's parenting style?

"There's a special bond, no question about it. It always will be but they're still our kids and life goes on," he said.

"Even heroes get in trouble," April said.

And this hero says her decision was based on just one thing.

"I wanted my dad to get better because I really love him," Gabbie said.

Gabbie recovered in just a few days. As for Larry, doctors say he is making very good progress for someone just two months post-transplant.

 



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