Metro Detroit family celebrates end of 11-year-old’s battle with sickle cell disease

Jackson Walker cured after successful bone marrow transplant

Local family finds ways to stay positive while face medical, financial crises

BELLEVILLE, Mich. – One Metro Detroit family is celebrating a clean bill of health for their 11-year-old son who has battled sickle cell disease since birth.

The journey for 11-year-old Jackson Walker has been difficult one, being diagnosed with sickle cell disease when he was born.

“We have been going in and out of the hospital with him,” said Esther Walker, Jackson’s mother. “A day after his fifth birthday, he had his spleen removed.”

The Walker family’s lives have been filled with trips in and out of the hospital for the past decade -- but that trend promises to change, thanks to a successful medical procedure.

“On Nov. 15, Jackson actually had the bone marrow transplant done to get cured of sickle cell,” Esther Walker said. “My husband James Walker was the donor. He’ll be the donor for my other son, as well. He set himself a goal of four and half weeks to be discharged, and he actually got discharged on his four and half weeks.”

“I was just trying to get rid of this sickle cell and I was tired of it, I didn’t want it anymore,” Jackson Walker said. “I feel like I accomplished something and I was able to get rid of this. I feel great.”

Though the Walker family could not be happier about their son’s progress, the family now continues their battle financially.

Both Esther and James Walker lost their jobs earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, and medical bills are beginning to add up.

“We told (our children) that Christmas this year was cancelled,” Esther Walker said. “We don’t have the money, so we have to wait. They understand what we all have going on in our lives.”

Even amid the many challenges facing the Walker family, Jackson says everything “will be OK.”

A GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up to help raise money for the family’s medical bills. Click here to visit the Walker’s GoFundMe page.

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