When four-and-a-half-year-old Zrichko Vladislav was diagnosed with osteopetrosis--a condition where the bones become overly dense and cause damage to nerves and tissues--his feet had already started to bend and he could hardly walk. A bone marrow transplant at the Hadassah University Medical Center saved his life.
When Zrichko's parents searched the internet and learned that a bone marrow transplant was a possible treatment, they began to explore opportunities within the Ukraine and neighboring Russia and then in other countries. For one reason or another, there were no viable options—until they explored Israel and Hadassah. Now, Zrichko's successful bone marrow transplant is behind him and his Hadassah doctors are closely monitoring his recovery.
"Until now we had to hold him on our hands all the time," says Lena, Zrichko's mother. "He could not go to the kindergarten because his immune system was too weak. His contacts with other children were limited to family relatives. We were afraid that he would be infected."
"We transfused Zrichko's entire blood with that of his donor's, and did the same thing with his immune system," says Dr. Paulina Stefansky, a senior physician in Hadassah's Department of Pediatric Hemato-Oncology, who is in charge of pediatric transplantations. Now Zrichko will receive rehabilitation treatment as his "new" immune system gains strength. While he will still have some bone-related problems--with his teeth, for example--he can look forward to a normal life.