Boca Raton, FL – Sloane Caston, a precocious 3-year-old girl from Delray Beach, Fla., is battling two forms of cancer and is in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant to save her life. The only person to be diagnosed with both Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor (ATRT) and a pre-cancer caused by myelodysplastic syndrome, she now needs the public’s help to find a donor.
Despite being a twin and having loving parents and other family members willing to donate the necessary bone marrow, they are not a match. In fact, 70% of patients in need of a marrow transplant do not have a matching donor in their family.
Sloane’s journey began before she turned one and when she should have been celebrating her first birthday, she was in the hospital recovering from emergency brain surgery. She had been diagnosed with ATRT, a rare and fast-growing cancerous tumor in the brain. The removal of a six-centimeter tumor was just the beginning and the ensuing 12 months were marked with many hospital stays as Sloane received 52 weeks of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation with her twin sister and doting parents by her side.
“Her strength and warm glow has defied comprehension,” said her mother, Keri Caston. “She was so cooperative and brave, pulling up her shirt to show the nurses where her port was and giving everyone a smile or a wave hello. After a year of treatment, we celebrated and hoped it was the end of this nightmare. God had another plan for us.”
A few months later Sloane’s cancer was back, but in the spine, resulting in more doctor’s visits and chemotherapy treatment. Moreover, the brave little girl recently received a secondary diagnosis for a pre-cancer called myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a consequence of her previous treatments. Through it all, Sloane has thrived, meeting all of her milestones and never letting her illness dull her infectious personality and sassiness.
This is why Gift of Life Marrow Registry has mounted an urgent campaign, calling on those who are 18 to 35 and in good health to join the registry as soon as possible. To order a swab kit visit giftoflife.org/SloaneStrong. To hold a virtual or in-person donor recruitment drive, email Traci Ackerman at tackerman ( @ ) giftoflife dot org dot
You can also support Sloane by donating to her family’s fundraising “Donor Circle” campaign, which has already raised more than $20,000. Every contribution helps Gift of Life add new donors to the registry and goes directly towards testing swab kits in order to find matches for Sloan and patients like her.
“If you’re healthy and of the right age, please consider joining the registry to help save courageous little Sloane or another patient battling blood cancer. Please consider a donation to offset the costs associated with testing,” said Gift of Life’s Director of Organizational Advancement Marti Freund.
About Gift of Life Marrow Registry
Gift of Life Marrow Registry is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization headquartered in Boca Raton, Fla. The organization, established in 1991, is dedicated to saving lives by facilitating bone marrow and blood stem cell transplants for patients with leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood-related diseases. To learn more about Gift of Life Marrow Registry, visit www.giftoflife.org.