BUFFALO, N.Y. — Kayla Rushing is the first pediatric patient to receive a bone marrow transplant for Sickle Cell Disease in the City of Buffalo.

The procedure took place through a partnership with Roswell Park and Oishei Children's Hospital. 

Dr. Steven Ambrusko is the Director of Sickle Cell and Hemoglobinopathy services program. He says this procedure is the first step toward a larger initiative to ensure children with Sickle Cell Disease in Buffalo get the care they need. 

"We've created a successful and collaborative joint program to ensure that children and their families suffering from this disease don't have to look elsewhere for treatment. It's available to them right here in Western New York on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus," Dr. Ambrusko said in a statement.

In order to perform the bone marrow transplant, Kayla Rushing needed a donor. 

Kayla's younger sister, Amaya, was a half-match. The hope is that giving Kayla healthy bone marrow from Amaya will allow her body to produce healthy red blood cells. 

Sickle Cell Disease is an inherited condition. It causes the red blood cells produced by the body to become stiff and crescent in shape.

This abnormal shape causes the cells to get stuck in the bloodstream and can lead to pain and infections in patients. A bone marrow transplant is the only known, effective cure. 

According to the American Society of Hematology, Sickle Cell Disease is most common in people of African descent, Hispanic Americans from Central and South America, and people of Middle Eastern, Asian, Indian and Mediterranean descent. 

More information about Roswell Park and Oisehei Children's Hospital's joint program can be found here

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