The doctors “looked at me like I was crazy, and I was like: ‘No, you don’t understand. This is her life. If something were to happen to him, then that ruins her chances,’ ” Regina said. “If he got sick or if he developed anything, then that would ruin her chances. I said it in a jokingly way, but I was serious.
“Mike said, ‘Why did you take it all the way there?’ I had to. ‘What happens if something happens to you? Where would we stand?’ ”
The doctors never answered Regina’s question, but from that moment forward, Mike said, he was hyper-cautious in his actions. Whenever he needed to shave in the coaches’ locker room, he used a new razor, lest he accidentally pick up someone else’s. When he got in his car, he put his seat belt on before turning the ignition.
Ticynn seemed to best handle the waiting for a bone marrow transplant. Other than displaying occasional lethargy, she acted like any other kid during those three years. That is Fanconi anemia’s cruelest side effect: Everything seems normal.
“The most anxious moments are always the moments when you go take her to the doctor and have them draw blood to see where her counts are,” Mike said. “You’re hoping deep, deep down inside that some miraculous miracle will occur and those numbers will shoot back up and that they would say: ‘You know what? She’s fine now.’
“But the reality of it is her numbers were at a level that said she was okay, and we decided to have the transplant when she was at a level that said she was okay, rather than [waiting for her blood counts to plummet] and then try to do it. The timing of everything worked out.”
On April 29, 2003, Mike London, who by then was an assistant at Virginia, donated his bone marrow to try to save his 7-year-old daughter’s life.
It worked. Ticynn London just finished volleyball season at St. Anne’s Belfield School in Charlottesville.
A normal 6-year-old
Had Fanconi anemia not become a facet of her everyday life, Candi Fisher would struggle to discern the difference between her youngest boy, Ethan, and every other 6-year-old she has encountered.
One Thursday morning in mid-October, Ethan got off to a rough start. Candi has learned that her son starts to wear out toward the end of the week, and on that day, Ethan had decided he didn’t want to go to school. A tantrum ensued.
Consequently, Candi arrived a few minutes late to a board meeting for the nonprofit charitable foundation she and Jimbo started in August after deciding to take their fight against the disease public. They called it the Kidz 1st Fund, and in two months it raised more than $425,000 for Fanconi anemia treatment research.
Later that afternoon, Candi picked up older son Trey, 10, and Ethan from school. When they arrived home, the boys munched on some Halloween candy, and then Ethan grabbed his baseball glove and a foam ball. He started throwing the ball from the living room at a hallway wall. He used to play organized baseball, but not anymore.