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Trenton girl’s little brother will likely save her life

The family is asking the public to join them for a live drive at Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Ellsworth on Saturday.
Trenton family's Journey brings them closer together
Trenton family's Journey brings them closer together
Published: Feb. 5, 2021 at 9:23 PM EST
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ELLSWORTH, Maine (WABI) - A family in Trenton is bringing awareness to a rare disorder.

It’s been a long road for them but they say it’s the journey that’s making their family stronger.

Melanie Gartner, Journey’s mom, said, “Are you going to save the day? Yes, he is and he doesn’t even know it.”

Melanie Gartner just found out her son will most likely save her daughter Journey’s life.

“I noticed some paleness around Christmas time and took her into her doctor and said look at her paleness, too and everything was very low all her blood counts. She was a lot sicker than we thought,” Gartner said.

They immediately began testing.

“They were very sure it was leukemia,” Gartner added.

The eight-year-old was diagnosed with MDS. It’s a bone marrow failure disorder. Journey has spent weeks getting tests and treatment including chemotherapy- something they’re unfortunately familiar with as Melanie spent 2020 battling breast cancer.

Gartner said, “I told her I would go through cancer ten more times myself to save her from this.”

But it turns out one of Journey’s two brothers, will.

“Ezra is helping me,” Journey said.

“It’s Ezra - the two-year-old. We were just hoping one of them would be. He gets to be a superhero and save his sister’s life,” Gartner added.

The two-year-old will have to be tested to see if he has MDS before he can be her donor. It’s a relatively simple procedure and a cure for Journey so this doesn’t turn into leukemia.

Gartner explained, “We are hopeful that he is going to be the one, but if there is a genetic component and we can’t use him, she has a lot of other great matches.”

They’re so grateful for the help their mighty girl has gotten. She’s even made bracelets for her medical team to say thank you. Now they’re asking others to consider saving the day. They’re holding a ‘Be The Match Drive’ at their church in Ellsworth.

The social-distanced live drive is from ten to two Saturday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

That’s on Beechland Road.

“Very simple.Very non-invasive. Just get your cheek swabbed and you could be a hero,” Gartner added.

There is a Go Fund Me Page set up to help the family.

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