AJ Hennerichs from Clinton, La. was just like any other 2 year-old boy, an endless ball of energy, until he got sick.
AJ Hennerichs from Clinton, La.
“I knew something was seriously wrong, he was never sick,” says his dad, Adam. AJ ran a 101 degree fever for four weeks and was diagnosed with various illnesses, such as hand-foot-and-mouth disease and tonsillitis. On week five, Adam rushed him to the hospital, because his tongue began to become so swollen he couldn’t swallow.
AJ was admitted to the hospital. After three days of tests, doctors gave Adam the news, they had found leukemia cells in little AJ’s blood. “I was devastated,” says Adam, “my world just came crashing down.”
AJ was transported to St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., where he was officially diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). He received chemotherapy for 60 days and doctors were able to get him into remission. “The plan was to come back every 30 days, then every 4 months, then every year to make sure he was still in remission,” says Adam.
On July 8, during one of his four month check-ups, AJ’s cancer had returned. This time, however, chemotherapy will not cure him, he will need a bone marrow transplant.
“Being a volunteer firefighter, I have been a blood and plasma donor, but that doesn’t compare to the fragment of hope that a stranger can give a family, just by signing up as a marrow donor,” says Adam.
Donors must be between the ages of 18-44, in good physical health, and willing to donate to anyone. It only takes about 10 minutes to register. “I don’t know what to say to encourage someone to register, you could be the light at the end of a very dark tunnel for a family, thank you!” shares Adam of his hope to find a match for his son, and others like him.
UPDATE: On February 24, 2016, AJ Hennerichs unfortunately lost his battle with leukemia. AJ's family shared his story with us to encourage donations and marrow registrations for others in need.