SALINA, Kansas — After spending his entire childhood being ill, a Salina teen is set to have a life-saving bone marrow transplant but unfortunately the procedure comes at a heavy price.
14-year-old Derek Gropp has had a long and hard journey since the day he was born.
“He started getting sick when he was two days old and by the time he was a month old we were practically living in the hospital,” said Lisa Gropp, Derek’s mom.
Derek was diagnosed with Kostmann’s Syndrome, a congenital disease that eventually mutates into Acute Myeloid Leukemia or AML. The illness has killed the white blood cells in Derek’s body, meaning even the common cold could prove to be fatal for his entire life. He mother says he’s been in and out of the hospital due to the condition.
“He’s had IV’s in his head, his feet, his legs, and his arms. He’s had so many IV’s that there are almost no ports left,” said Lisa.
It’s gotten to the point where Derek now needs a bone marrow transplant.
While it’s hard to find a match, his family found a God-send in his 16-month-old baby brother, Christopher. He is almost an identical match. But with the positive news comes a struggle.
“The hospital expense on us is going to be $300,000 minimum,” said Lisa.
To afford it, Lisa says she is selling almost everything she owns to at least pay for some of the expense as well as moving her family to Michigan where the procedure is being done. She is hoping others will lend a helping hand to help pay for a procedure that has to be done.
“We don’t have any choice, he’s going to die without it,” said Lisa.
But even though the procedure could ultimately change his life for the better, Derek still has reservations about it.
“I’m nervous,” said Derek.
When asked what he is nervous about he said, “Just not coming back.”
If you would like to help Derek and his family in their fight you can visit the “High Fives For Derek” Facebook page.