Month: January, 2010

Fantastic Day at the Beach (Tampa Family Photographer)

January 31, 2010

Sneak Peek family session!  Great time at a beautiful beach in St. Petersburg.

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Aplastic Anemia Awareness – Bone Marrow Donation

January 28, 2010

Hi everyone!  I would like to dedicate this post to my nephew Preston.  He is 2 years old and battling Aplastic Anemia.  I have never heard of this until now so I want everyone to be aware of this very rare blood disease that anyone can get at any point in their lives.  It is diagnosed more often in children and young adults.

Aplastic anemia occurs when the bone marrow stops making enough blood-forming stem cells.  Patients have low platelets, white blood cells and red blood cells.  The bone marrow has low or no growth of cells.  Aplastic anemia is classified as moderate (MAA), severe (SAA) or very severe (VSAA) based on the neutrophil count.  Neurtrophils are a type of white blood cell found in bone marrow and your blood stream that fights off disease and infection.  Neutrophils play a very important role in obtaining a healthy immune system.  If your neutrophil count is too low your body will not be able to fight off infections and/or diseases.

Symptoms of aplastic anemia are bruising, increased bleeding (such as nose bleeds), petechaie (a tiny red or purple spot on the body caused by a minor hemorrage), has a hard time getting better when sick with a cold, cough etc., shortness of breath, fatigue, decreased alertness, dizziness.

Preston woke up one morning with petechaie, although at the time we had no idea what these little bumps all over this baby could be, and my sister and her husband took him to the Emergency Room.  After many tests (blood counts, bone marrow biopsy, medical history of everyone on both sides of the family trees) he was finally diagnosed with aplastic anemia.

There are two types of treatment for aplastic anemia:

Bone Marrow Transplant – this is the choice of treatment if the patient is under 30 years old and has a matched sibling bone marrow donor.  The transplant replaces the defective bone marrow of the patient with the healthy cells of his/her sibling donor.  This treatment often provides complete recovery of 80% of patients.  Siblings will not always be a perfect match for a bone marrow donation.

Immunosuppressive  Therapy – this is the choice of treatment in older patients and also for patients who do not have a matched bone marrow sibling donor.  ATG (Anti-Thymocyte Gloubin) plus cyclosporine is the usual therapy treatment.

Preston is an only child and has been undergoing immunosurpressive treatment for his VSAA (very severe aplastic anemia).   He is just starting to show changes in his blood counts and a bone marrow biopsy was done yesterday to see if the treatment is working for him.  If this treatment does not work the next step would be to find him a match for a bone marrow transplant off the registry of donors.  We pray that the therapy is working and we should know by the end of the week if it is.

I would like to encourage everyone to become a bone marrow donor.  It is easier then you think!  All you do is go to www.marrow.org and register.  You will have to answer some questions about your medical history.  They will then send you a registration kit.  All you need to do is swab the inside of your mouth and place it in the provided envelope and send it back.  No need to go to a doctor or hospital to get tested.  Saving a life could be as easy as a quick swab of your mouth and 10 minutes of your time.

January is also National Blood Donor Awareness Month!  Go to your local blood bank and give blood today!  If you are in Louisiana you can give blood in Preston’s name, just let them know when you go in.

Please feel free to check out Preston’s website to follow his updates — Preston’s Website

Jacob, Preston and Renee (my sister) - at Disney World while visiting us before he got sick

Jacob, Preston and Renee (my sister) - at Disney World while visiting us before he got sick

Preston and Maw-Maw (my mom)

Preston and Maw-Maw (my mom)

Other sites on Aplastic Anemia and Donation Sites:

Be A Match – Bone Marrow Donation

Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center – Give Blood in Preston’s Name

Aplastic Anemia and MDS International Foundation

Give Blood – American Red Cross Centers

All About Christy

Christy specializes in custom on location portraiture that will capture your family being themselves. She use the natural light of the sun and available light to capture your photographs. This is especially important when it comes to children and portraits. When a child walks into a portrait studio they will see big lights, reflectors, softboxes, cameras, props and backdrops which can be a bit overwhelming for some kids. When I come to your session it is just me and my camera, a reflector and occasionally a prop or two. I work on location only, as I believe that giving children the freedom to roam around in an outside environment eases them, which results in a more natural and candid portrait. I capture children being themselves. Laughing, playing and goofing around are some of my favorite shots! I don't believe in unnatural and stiff poses. My goal at Christy Marrone Photography is to have fun capturing moments in your family's life and to create for you an art piece you will proudly hang in your home to adore and cherish forever!