Kolya was born with severe immune deficiency and could only
live in an isolation tent unless a bone marrow transplant could
Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) is a rare condition in which a baby is born
with a faulty immune system. Babies with SCID are lethally vulnerable to infection,
and are often diagnosed when a vaccination causes a life-threatening reaction. The
only curative treatment is a bone marrow transplant, which infuses the donor’s immune
system. Kolya’s brother and sister had already died before they were 1-year old.
The trouble was that Kolya lives in a very poor country without any possibility to
cure him. When Lifeline heard about Kolya we brought him to a Western hospital where
a donor was found. After treatment lasting a year, Kolya is as healthy as any other
2 year-old and has returned home with his happy parents. His treatment cost £100,000
although it can cost more if longer treatment is needed. Lifeline has already arranged
more than 175 bone marrow transplants, but every month there is a new Kolya whose
life needs saving.
Babies with immune deficiencies need to be treated early in the first year of life
so we get some very small patients.