When Utah Jazz all-star forward Carlos Boozer and his wife Cece welcomed their first child nearly two years ago, they never dreamed that their lives would soon revolve around blood tests and hospital stays, instead of basketball stats and NBA games.
Little Carmani, now nearly 2, was born with sickle cell disease, a genetic disorder in which the patient’s bone marrow produces defective hemoglobin that can block the blood supply to parts of the body, resulting in painful episodes and potentially debilitating stroke.
Many patients with sickle cell disease are able to manage the condition over a lifetime. But little Carmani was so severely impacted that he was hospitalized multiple times during his first year and was at high risk for strokes that could jeopardize his future.
The Bone Marrow Transplan Program at Nicklaus Children's Hospital
Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital’s Bone and Marrow Transplantation Program is the only pediatric program in the region to meet the stringent standards for certification by the Foundation for Accreditation of Cellular Therapies (FACT). The program offers treatment for a variety of disorders, including sickle cell disease, leukemia and other cancers, such as lymphomas, neuroblastomas and brain tumors, as well as immunodeficiencies, autoimmune disorders and metabolic disorders.
The Bone Marrow Transplantation Program is part of the Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital, Cancer Center, the largest provider of pediatric cancer care services in South Florida. The center is one of only 12 children’s hospitals in the nation to receive approved cancer program status from the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Commission on Cancer.
Siblings help Caramnai get back in the Game
Before Carmani could undergo a bone marrow transplant, a donor had to be found. When neither Cece nor Carlos Boozer was a match, they decided to work with a geneticist to bring a matching sibling into the world.
Fraternal twins Cameron and Cayden were born in 2007 and the bone marrow they provided weeks after their birth was used for Carmani’s transplant at Nicklaus Children's.
Today, the lively 21-month-old Carmani no longer has sickle cell disease and is meeting all of his recovery milestones way ahead of schedule, while enjoying play time with his twin brothers.
As for the Boozers, they are extremely grateful to the entire Bone Marrow Transplantation team for the excellent care Carmani received and for his new and exciting future free of sickle cell disease.
“... the entire team were so wonderful,” said Cece. “Throughout the 40 days that he was hospitalized, there was always someone there to talk to Carmani, play with him and keep him happy throughout the treatment and recovery. We feel so fortunate to have been in their care.”
Read more about Carmani's story in: "Fearless Love" E:60 talks with Carlos and CeCe Boozer about their fight against sickle cell anemia.