This one got lost a bit amidst the Fourth of July holiday, but we thought it merited at least a mention.
The younger sister of USC offensive lineman Austin Jackson has been battling a genetic condition called Diamond-Blackfan anemia, a very rare disease that attacks an individual’s bone marrow. So rare, in fact, that it affects just 5-7 per million newborn babies worldwide.
From the National Institute of Health:
The major function of bone marrow is to produce new blood cells. In Diamond-Blackfan anemia, the bone marrow malfunctions and fails to make enough red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the body’s tissues. The resulting shortage of red blood cells (anemia) usually becomes apparent during the first year of life. Symptoms of anemia include fatigue, weakness, and an abnormally pale appearance (pallor).
People with Diamond-Blackfan anemia have an increased risk of several serious complications related to their malfunctioning bone marrow. Specifically, they have a higher-than-average chance of developing myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), which is a disorder in which immature blood cells fail to develop normally. Individuals with Diamond-Blackfan anemia also have an increased risk of developing a bone marrow cancer known as acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a type of bone cancer called osteosarcoma, and other cancers.
Last week, USC confirmed that Jackson will be donating his bone marrow to his sister, Autumn, this week. In a social media posting, the siblings’ aunt described the donation as “life-saving’ for the young girl. “Austin is a perfect match!” Kia Jackson wrote on Twitter. “To cover ongoing medical costs, a fund established in honor of Autumn. Please consider giving.”
Thus far, the family has raised nearly $13,000 of its $40,000 goal. If you wish to donate, click HERE.
Jackson started 12 games for the Trojans at left tackle last season. He has missed a handful of summer workouts as he prepares to help his younger sister, although he’s still penciled in as the Trojans’ starter on the left side of the line again this year.