Marrow-transplant, brain surgery survivor thrives against odds - CBS46 News

Marrow-transplant, brain surgery survivor thrives against odds

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Aaron Washington has survived more medical close calls than any young person should ever have to.

"It's been real tough," Washington said.

Washington was born with a severe form of sickle cell anemia, suffered meningitis and two strokes before she was 12 years old.

"It was a nightmare," Washington said. "Some days I was nervous to wake up."

Washington underwent a highly risky operation to replace all of her bone marrow with marrow from a donor that did not precisely match hers.

The transplant from Aaron's older sister, Tayla Washington, was a success.

"We thought no more problems," said their mother, Joyce Washington. "No more sickle cell."

But Aaron Washington suffered another stroke soon after her surgery.

"She was getting worse and worse and worse," Joyce Washington said.

Then came the painful and dangerous seizures.

"She was having from seven to ten a day," Joyce Washington said.

"I would wake up in my nurse's office with a huge headache and I didn't know what was happening," Aaron Washington said.

Last fall, doctors recommended yet another risky procedure, brain surgery.

"I'm like, you're cutting my baby's head, you're taking out a portion of her brain," Joyce Washington said.

"Out of all the surgeries I had, I got nervous about it. It's my brain, it makes me live," Aaron Washington said.

"We didn't think she was going to be Aaron," Joyce Washington said.

The operation worked.

"Aaron is better than Aaron," Joyce Washington said.

"I'm 20 now, I didn't think I'd make it to this age," Aaron Washington said. "I'm awesome, I'm very happy."

Aaron now has a shot at a normal life.

"She has the courage, perseverance and the will to live like nobody I've ever seen in my whole life," Joyce Washington said.

"I've never seen anybody handle a life threatening situation with such grace and so much love and so much happiness," Tayla Washington said.

Aaron Washington told CBS 46 she owes her strength to her family.

"They help me so much, they see me cry, they pick me up. They make sure I'm OK through everything. They're my angels and I love them. Without them, I'd crash," Aaron Washington said.

Aaron this fall will become a motivational speaker for young children with serious medical issues and one day she hopes to become a veterinarian.

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