Hunter Kelley, 7, is on pins and needles as he awaits the arrival of his new baby brother. His very life may depend on it. Correspondent Susan Spencer reports.
Randy and Christie Kelley of Birmingham, Ala., have just what they've always wanted - a houseful of boys. First came Taylor, then Hunter and finally Parker.
Everything seemed perfect until Hunter turned 5.
"He'd always been small, so we kind of questioned that," says Hunter's father, Randy. "And his blood counts were deteriorating."
At his annual check-up, routine tests showed Hunter's white and red blood cell counts were dangerously low. So doctors ran more tests.
The diagnosis? Fanconi anemia, a rare genetic disease in which the bone marrow fails to produce healthy blood cells, leading to infection, cancer and ultimately, death.
"Very rarely did children make it to adulthood," says Randy. "The average life span is between 8 years old and 12 years old. So it was pretty bleak."
Aired: 12 Jul 2003