Nguyen brothers need transplants
What ever happened to the three brothers who were suffering from a rare immune system disease and waiting for bone marrow transplants?
Answer: Tuan, Kevin and Anthony Nguyen, all in their teens, were born with a rare and fatal genetic disease, Hyper IgM syndrome, that weakens the body's ability to fight off infection.
According to Roy Yonashiro, a donor recruitment coordinator with the Hawaii Bone Marrow Donor Registry, the boys are in stable condition. The organization is still searching for donors -- especially people of Vietnamese descent -- but "can't do much of anything but just wait," he said.
Tuan, 16, and Kevin, 15, are priorities for bone marrow transplants. Kevin, the smallest and weakest of the brothers, was given just a year to live when the Star-Bulletin publicized a series of bone marrow drives in 2004. Anthony, the youngest at 13 and healthier, can afford to wait a little longer.
Without a bone marrow transplant, sufferers of this disease rarely reach their 30th birthday.
The boys have a sister, 10, who is also a carrier of Hyper IgM, but the disease does not affect females. All four kids are being raised by a single mother, Lan Nguyen, in Kalihi.
As their disease progresses, relatively minor infections could prove deadly.
Tuan said in an interview two years ago, "I have to worry a lot. I'm still kind of scared if we don't make it." A student at McKinley High School, he has his heart set on becoming a doctor.
For more information on becoming a donor, call 547-6154.
This update was written by Star-Bulletin reporter Pat Gee.
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