Quincy boy diagnosed with rare bone marrow disorder

Jack Miller of Quincy was diagnosed with aplastic anemia. He will have to undergo a bone marrow transplant in St. Louis.

Life changed dramatically for a Quincy family this week.

This week's Spirit of the Tri-States report brought to you by Continental Cement and Green America Recycling shows you how a trip to to St. Louis Children's Hospital this week is life-saving and life-changing.

Jack Miller, 7, was born the 4th of July and has grown to be quite the firecracker.

Back in June, his family noticed Jack had lost some of his spark.

His parents took him to the doctor, and he was diagnosed with aplastic anemia.

It's a rare bone marrow disorder.

"His bone marrow doesn't produce blood," mother Jillian Miller said. "It doesn't produce red blood cells, white or platelets. What it is producing is being attacked by other immunities. It's an immunity disorder."

Only about 500 to 900 people are diagnosed with the disease each year.

"Seventy percent of people do not have a match donor to give bone marrow," Miller explained. "My 11-year-old son, Max, is Jack's perfect bone marrow match."

It's blessing the family doesn't take for granted, but that bone marrow transplant will be both life-saving for Jack and life-changing for the Miller family.

Jack and his mother, Jillian, left for St. Louis Children's Hospital this week.

After the bone marrow transplant, the two will have to live in the St. Louis area, close to the hospital, in a germ-free environment until March.

"I'm going to miss my friends, and I'm going to miss the playground at recess time," Jack Miller said. "It's going to help me get better, and it's going to help me run and gain my energy."

Jack plans to Skype with his classmates.

"He's still a part of that class," Jillian Miller explained. "It's just he's not going to be in the physical class."

Jillian will have to be away from her husband and other three children for several months and has this piece of advice for other families going through similar situations.

"Reaching out can be hard at first, but it really does help," she said. "There's no way we could make this as a small family unit on our own. Our friends, our family, our church, they've uplifted us."

A friend of the family has set up a GoFundMe account for the Miller family.

It's called Team Jack Tar.

St. John's Anglican Church also is accepting tax-deductible donations for the family.

Donors can send a check with "Jack" in the memo line to St. John's Anglican Parish, 701 Hampshire, Quincy, Illinois 62301.

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