Demier has received care at our Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders since he was an infant. He was born with sickle cell disease, an inherited red blood cell disorder. “In those first few years, it felt like he spent more time at the hospital than at home,” his mother, Tiana says. “But I knew always he was in good hands.”

Our blood and marrow transplantation specialist deliberated with Demier’s parents and decided to proceed with a stem cell transplant when he was 3. Nurse practitioners supported the family up to and through the transplant. “It was a really hard time, especially juggling my job and other kids at home,” Tiana says. “Everyone at the hospital genuinely cared for us. Doctors wrote letters to excuse me from work. Nurses convinced me to take a break even though I was afraid to leave.”

Demier had chemotherapy before the transplant and was in the hospital for several months. Then, he was back with complications from the transplant as the holidays neared. On Christmas, nurses brought gifts for Demier and his sisters. “He was the patient, but the doctors and staff made all of my kids feel comfortable,” Tiana says. “We felt loved. They treated us like family.”

Demier is now fully recovered. “He’s had a second chance at life,” Tiana says. “He does things he could never do before, like playing football with his friends, running and going to the pool. Thanks to Children’s National Hospital, he’s a regular, active and happy kid.”

A young patient at Children's National Hospital.

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A young patient at Children's National Hospital.