This year an area family has something special to celebrate because their son has a second chance at life.
“Cody was diagnosed with cancer when he was in eighth grade. He’s been out of school for two years now,” said Mari Beth Fulkerson, Cody’s mother. “He’s been cancer-free for a year, but as a result of a reaction with chemotherapy, he developed two different blood diseases, along with a host of other issues.”
One of the blood diseases Fulkerson developed was Thrombotic Microangiopathy (TMA), as well as Atypical Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS).
According to the North Carolina Kidney Center, “HUS is quite rare, and in a city with a population of 1 million people there might be 11 cases a year.”
The two different blood diseases are actually more fatal than the leukemia that he was diagnosed with,” said Fulkerson. “They tested his brothers in the beginning for a match, and his brother Taylor came back 13 of 13.”
Fulkerson’s brother Taylor donated bone marrow to his brother Cody on Jan. 12.
“At first they weren’t going to use Taylor’s marrow because he’s a juvenile diabetic, but then they decided to go ahead and do it—it was high-risk for both of the boys, but they did very well,” said Fulkerson. “The doctors are very surprised at how well Cody recovered after the surgery, especially since he’s had appendicitis.”
Fulkerson recently ate his first meal since the transplant, enjoying a bowl of applesauce.
“He has no taste buds right now but they’re supposed to come back,” said Fulkerson. “The doctors said that, once his taste buds come back, he’ll have exactly the same food likes as his brother Taylor, and that genetically they’ll both be the same. The only difference between them will be their fingerprints.”
She added, “I’m proud of my boys. The doctors tell me that they made transplant history (and) the outcome is looking very good for them. I’d like to thank the community, they’ve done quite a bit for me the past couple of years.”
Donations can be made to “The Cody Fulkerson Benefit Fund” at Huntington Bank.