Published: Fri, July 06, 2018
Medicine | By Douglas Stevenson

Toddler cancer survivor serves as flower girl to bone marrow donor

Toddler cancer survivor serves as flower girl to bone marrow donor

Though they had talked on the phone and via Facebook messenger, Syke and Hayden did not meet until the 3-year-old arrived at the wedding rehearsal.

"I didn't want to take my eyes off her", she said about the moment she saw Skye Savren-McCormick waiting at the altar at Shiloh Baptist Church in Hartford, Ala.

"I feel like Hayden is such a huge success in why Skye was able to beat leukemia". It was nearly exactly a year later when she received a phone call - she was a match to an anonymous 1-year-old child many miles away.

"I had been struggling for a while; I had changed my major", Ryals told the Dothan Eagle. "That phone call gave me a goal".

"They are going to be a part of our lives forever", Talia Savren-McCormick, Skye's mother, told the news outlet. Four days before her first birthday, after months of doctors appointments and tests and unanswered questions, Skye was diagnosed with juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia, a rare and aggressive form of blood cancer, according to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The coordinator told Ryals, 26, she was a match with a little girl diagnosed with leukemia whose name she later learned was Skye Savren-McCormick.

She needed a bone-marrow transplant.

It would be a long road to recovery.

"She saved our daughter's life". She has undergone blood and platelet transfusions, had her spleen removed, has had three bone marrow transfusions and endured a 10-month stay at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital, People reported. It had attacked her eyelid, both sides of her neck, her chest and her spinal column, her father said.

After feeling lost and lacking goal at college, Hayden had signed up with registry Be the Match to be a bone marrow donor.

Hayden Hatfield, a stranger to the child and her family stepped forward, and became that donor to save the child's life and later on after a healing journey this child becomes her flower girl.

But Ryals said she didn't save the toddler. But once she was off oxygen, her doctors said it would be fine. "She helped me. She saved me". Be The Match requires donors and patients to wait one year before contacting each other, and when the year was up, Ryals reached out to Savren-McCormick's mother.

"I wanted them to know they were most wanted there", Ryals said. For her third birthday, Ryals sent Skye a present and a special request for her to attend the wedding as the couple's flower girl.

While Hayden's donation was anonymous, the Alabama-local couldn't stop thinking about the transplant and sent the family an anonymous letter.

"That changed everything", Ryals said. "Skye gave her a big hug".

"It was like a fairy tale", Ryals said. "She said she thought, "'I can't believe I'm finally meeting this little girl.'. "It was unreal. It was magical".

"We were in the front, looking around, and she [Ryals] came in and immediately came over to Skye and dropped to her knees", Savren-McCormick said. But after chemotherapy and more bone marrow transplants, she pulled through.

Skye's parents Todd and Talia reveal the toddler will have a lifelong bond with her donor. "I thought there's like a one in a gazillion chance that I would ever be a match".

During the ceremony, Skye sat quietly on the steps at the altar, playing with the leaves on a nearby fern and pulling on the bow on her dress.

Ryals said she'll feel a link to Skye for the rest of her life.

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