Four brothers from Missouri are facing an incredibly tough battle against a fatal bone marrow disease that threatens to kill them by the time they reach the age of 30. Sean, Patrick, Danny and Timmy Murry were all born with Diamon-Blackfan Anaemia, a rare blood disorder that prevents the production of red blood cells.
“Basically, it is a genetic defect that gets translated into RNA which is used to make proteins,” Patrick, who studies bioengineering, explained to PEOPLE. “It has a faulty stock code somewhere in the middle of the RNA sequence, so the proteins needed to make red blood cells are not fully manufactured. We cannot make our own red blood cells so we are transfusion-dependent.”
“I can’t tell you how odd it is to think that you might outlive your kids,” said mother Maggie, as reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The boys are dependent on fresh blood being pumped into their veins until they can find a donor. Without the long-term fix, they are unlikely to live into their 30’s. While they remain in somewhat of a limbo period, waiting for a match, they have done some staggeringly good work to help others. Because of their efforts with DKMS – the world’s largest bone-marrow center — the family has managed to recruit over 28,000 people to the DKMS registry, which has led to 116 life-saving transplants among the 12,000 people currently waiting for a donor.
“It’s pretty cool that we’ve saved so many lives while we’re just trying to save our own,” explained Timmy Murry, who just graduated from middle school. After being able to help so many others on their road to recovery, the boys have hope that someone will do the same for them.
“It lifts your spirits more than you can put into words,” Tim continued. “It also continues to give us hope that the call is coming for our boys.”
The boys father explained that you should “always look for blessings,” because “they are always there,” noting that while the two older boys have required blood transfusions every three to four weeks, the younger boys are responsive to steroid medication. However, such regular blood transfusions will begin to damage Sean and Patrick’s organs as they grow older. Due to Sean and Patrick not being able to process and reuse the old blood cells, a build-up of iron will eventually destroy their heart and liver. With every transfusion, the iron inflicts more damage.
Sean, who is an aspiring actor, remains hopeful for the future.
“Obviously we want a donor but that doesn’t change my thinking,” Sean told PEOPLE. “I still want a career and I want to possibly have a family. Whether I’m cured or not doesn’t change that — but getting cured means I won’t have to worry about whether I even have a future.”
“If we don’t find a match for them all, then it becomes an issue of playing out the clock,” their father added.
Please pray for this family as they battle on. You can learn more about how to become a donor here.