Dearborn man battling leukemia to get bone marrow donation from teen son
DEARBORN, Mich (FOX 2) - Paul Martin is 48-years-old a busy husband to Patty and father to Pauly and Piper. In September he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia - cancer of the blood.
"It was a little scary at first - the first round I was in the hospital for about eight weeks," he said. "It was a big blow."
Followed by blow after blow - weeks and months in and out of the hospital, Martin underwent chemotherapy and bone marrow biopsies - then came a stomach ache - Paul's gall bladder had to be removed . He then had Covid - a high fever - hospitalization - and that's not all.
"I had a stroke - on top of pneumonia," he said. "My right side - I couldn't really walk - my right side was a little bit of paralysis."
Paul recovered - all the while wondering - what's next - because what Paul needed was a bone marrow transplant - where hope turned to heartache.
"We actually had three matches pop from the system and all three fall through - they were completely blown away," said Patty.
They - meaning the doctors and nurses at University of Michigan - but they offered another option for the bone marrow transplant - a family member, and their son Pauly - stepped up.
"Once I found out I could do it I was happy because anything to help him," Pauly said.
But it wasn't that easy - Pauly is only 14. The bone marrow transplant team was hesitant at first because he is a minor - and it is unusual for a minor to parent transplant. But it's happening this month.
"We're very hopeful and the fact that the son is young and healthy it will be a good bone marrow and it will be a good source of stem cells and it will be a good and active immune system," said Dr. Patrick Burke, md, Michigan Medicine. "And that is what we're banking on, that good immunotherapy, to help keep Paul hopefully, in remission for the rest of his life,"
The Martins are using this moment to encourage people to join the international registry to become a donor at bethematch.org
"You can save somebody's life - you can save multiple people's lives," Patty said. "It's just such an easy thing, but such an important thing to do."
"It's a great kind of learning experience you can do as well," Paul said.
This family has certainly learned a lot - and grown closer together. They said they are grateful to the family, friends, doctors, nurses - and even strangers who have donated to their GoFundMe since Paul can't work - but thanks to Pauly, they're hoping to one day -soon - get back to normal.
"To finally realize that my son is going to do it is pretty amazing," Paul said.
"We're really proud of him," Patty said.
If you would like to donate to the Martin family's GoFundMe CLICK HERE and to learn more or register at the bone marrow registry go to bethematch.org