Lily of Hopkins High School defeats aplastic anemia

Lily and her mom six years ago during hard times.

Lilly Vanden Bosch today is a reasonably healthy Hopkins High School student after overcoming the challenges of aplastic anemia.

She owes her recovery to a bone marrow transplant that was engineered by Sandy Dobbs, of Germany, as donor.

Lily needed weekly blood transfusions.

Thanks to Dobbs and the Pediatric Blood and Bone Marrow Transplant Program at Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, she no longer needs transfusions.

Dobbs was identified as the only donor in the world who could help, and she has said she was glad to do it.

Lily now is a Hopkins High School student who plays sports and is looking forward to getting her driver’s license soon.

At the encouragement of Dr. Ulrich Duffner, director of clinical services for the Pediatric Blood and Bone Marrow Transplant Program at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, Lilly and her family participated in a promising clinical trial.

Lilly received manipulated T-cells, which were trained in a lab to attack the CMV virus. The trial gamble paid off. The CMV virus disappeared.

But Lilly’s body needed a boost. She was tired, weak and sick. When asked, Dobbs readily agreed to donate a second round of cells that Lilly received in May 2016.

“The combination of third-party T-cells and Sandy’s second donation finally did the trick,” mother Meg VandenBosch said. “That’s when Lilly turned the corner. No more viruses, no more transfusions, her body was finally able to thrive.”

Lily’s story first was reported in Townbroadcast six years ago with the headline “Lily vs. aplastic anemia.”

COVER PHOTO: Lily and her mother in happier times much more recent.

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