PHOENIX - 16-year-old identical twin brothers Jordan and Joshua Buchanan never knew what it was like to live without pain.
Both were born with sickle cell anemia, a hereditary disease caused by deformed red blood cells. Their lives have been consumed by medicine and doctors’ visits for as long as they can remember.
"It feels like a hammer on my head, a sharp pain," said Jordan Buchanan.
“When I found out my boys had sickle cell it was devastating because I didn’t know what it was so I was in denial,” said their mom Kristine Buchanan.
Buchanan was told by doctors that the average life span for someone with sickle cell is 35 to 40 years. She was mentally preparing to outlive her boys until she received a call from Dr. Dorothea Douglas at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
“Dr. Douglas called and said 'Guess what Ms. Buchanan? We have a match. Do you want to guess who it is?'"
Weeks earlier, doctors tested Kristine along with the twins' three other brothers to see if they could find a bone marrow match to cure them. The only one that matched was their youngest brother, 14-year-old Jonathan.
"I knew right away who it was. When he was little, he had this little stuffed dog that he used to cut open. Every time you would see it, it would have a whole new bandage on it, and I always said, he's going to be a doctor when he grows up. He’s like, 'Yeah I'm going to find a cure for sickle cell.' Now, he is the cure for sickle cell," said Kristine.
Jonathan was taken out of school for two weeks in order to donate and recover from giving bone marrow. Last October, Joshua was the first to receive the transplant.
“We played rock, paper, scissors to see who would go first. I won, but the doctor wanted me to go first anyway because I was in more pain,” said Joshua.
Joshua is completely cured, and has big plans to fulfill a long bucket list. He’s now waiting on his brother Jordan’s recovery after receiving the transplant last week.
“As soon as I’m done with all this, I want to buy Jonathan something he wants, like a go cart and then give him extra money,” said Jordan.
Jordan is expected to make a full recovery within six to ten weeks.
The Buchanan’s feel very blessed to have found a bone marrow donor within their family, but know others have a hard time.
“If I can encourage anything, it would be to go out and get tested. You could be that match that could save someone’s life. You just never know,” said Kristine.
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