Bone marrow transplant registration to be held in young boy's memory

Wright Lanier passed away in mid-December from a rare immune deficiency.
Wright Lanier passed away in mid-December from a rare immune deficiency.

WALLACE, NC (WECT) - Last year, thousands of people became aware of the serious medical condition of a six-year-old boy from Duplin County.

Wright Lanier passed away in mid-December, but there is no doubt he made an impact on the people who followed his medical condition on Facebook.

In 2010, Wright was diagnosed with a rare immune deficiency. Initially, doctors thought that he had lymphoma.

"The doctors, a lot of times, knew something was wrong, but in testing him nothing ever showed up," said Wright's mother, Dona Lanier. "He had a rare immune deficiency called XLP, which always looked like Lymphona in his body."

Because his condition was worsening, doctors decided Wright needed a bone marrow transplant, which is a procedure to replace damaged or destroyed bone marrow with healthy bone marrow stem cells. The stem cells can develop into the red blood cells that carry oxygen through your body. The white cells are the ones that fight infections and the platelets help with blood clotting.

While the transplant actually worked, complications were too great, and Wright died just over a year after the surgery.

"The bone marrow transplant, according to the Cincinnati hospital and Chapel Hill, was a success, meaning it completely cured his XLP and MPS," explained Dona.  "Wright just unfortunately had a lot of complications as a result of the transplant that resulted in his passing."

"While bone marrow transplants are life saving procedures for a lot of children and adults, with diseases that used to be deadly, it can also be very dangerous, and unfortunately not everyone who has a bone marrow transplant survives," said Doctor David Hill, a Wilmington pediatrician.

Before Wright got sick, his mother was the school nurse at Penderlea School. Many of the teachers, including Donna Mintz, followed Wright's progress, and shortly after his death, plans were made to honor the young boy's short life.  A bone marrow registration drive will be held in his name in Wallace this weekend.

"If you knew Wright, you would be spoiled by the smile he had and he gave the best hugs in the world," said Mintz, a teacher and family friend. "And we want to do anything we can for the memory of Wright, to help his family."

"He had the biggest heart and he did live every day like it was his last," said Wright's mom. "He found joy in every single day".

The "Be The Match" registry drive will be held in honor of Wright Lanier this Saturday, from 11 a.m. - 4  p.m. in the Wallace Woman's Club building. Normally, there is a charge to be checked to see if you can become a donor, but this weekend, the fee has been waived.

There will also be other fundraising events taking place on Saturday, and all proceeds will go directly to the "Be The Match" registry.

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